CURB, energy monitoring - home intelligence

CURB is the first whole home energy intelligence system.

Through sensors that connect directly to your breaker box, Curb monitors everything in your house that uses electricity. Curb knows which things are turned on, how much power they’re using, and what that will cost. Curb processes your electrical usage data and shares insights to help you make your home smarter, more energy efficient, and safer. The Curb mobile app and web interface show you what’s driving the cost of your electricity bill, share energy saving tips, and send electricity safety alerts. With Curb, you can power your life smarter.

CURB, energy monitoring - home intelligenceSince being named a “DEMO God” in 2014, CURB CEO Erik Norwood has gone from pitching his advanced home energy management product to angel investors to shipping on Amazon Prime. On the first day of Austin’s annual South by Southwest Interactive Conference, Norwood set the tone for an ambitious community of local and visiting entrepreneurs. The presentations in this innovative environment brought to light a number of new use cases for CURB’s monitoring hardware and software. The newest? Monitoring fast food restaurants’ energy usage in real time to identify potential equipment failures and comparing restaurants’ consumption patterns against one another to reduce costs.

CURB was one of nine companies selected from more than 80 applications to showcase their product in McDonald’s SXSW Pitch Competition. In the Internet of Things (IoT) category, McDonald’s objective was to find new ways to use technology to reinvent the traditional restaurant experience at scale.

So how does it work?

CURB uses a combination of hardware and software to help make your home safer, smarter and more energy efficient. The hardware is installed inside (or sometimes next to) the circuit breaker box for the home and then it monitors how much power is flowing to each of the different appliances or areas of a home with small sensors that monitor each breaker. CURB was designed so that it could measure the total energy consumption of the home as well as up to 16 additional circuits.

CURB hardware communicates back to the cloud services using the home's broadband internet connection, your homes router. This means that there are no monthly fees!

CURB can communicate to the home’s router two different ways:

1) Ethernet Over Power  (EOP)  2) Directly through an Ethernet cable

Ethernet over power line requires a small receiver plugged into an outlet near the home router, which is included in the standard CURB package.

In most homes, many of the major appliances (Air conditioner, furnace, range, heater, washer, dryer, hot water heater, fridge, etc…) are powered through a dedicated circuit breaker and CURB is able to monitor the power consumption directly through a specific sensor. Other circuits typically power areas or zones (kitchen, living room, bedroom 1, bathroom, garage, etc...)  within a home that provide energy to multiple devices.

The CURB sensors are called Current Transformers (CT) clamps, which measure the amount of current that is running through a wire through a process called induction. These sensors are very easy to install by clipping them around any wire that you want to measure. No wire removal necessary. See installation Gif above.

CURB customers have reported saving more than 50% on their electrical bills, although I'm sure specific customer results will vary. Independent studies have shown that having real time access to energy information about your home typical leads to over 12% of annual energy reduction.

For the most part, customers have achieved the greatest savings by using CURB to identify areas of waste and inefficiency in both their appliances and usage habits; the first step in reducing your energy bill and increasing the energy efficiency of your home is through measuring you're existing consumption, which helps users understand where they can make the biggest impact. Similarly to the way counting calories is effective in achieving a healthy diet, knowledge about energy consumption empowers our users to make smarter decisions.

CURB offers 2 options: Pro & Pro Duo.

CURB Pro:

This is the CURB flagship product and it comes with 18 sensors to provide detailed information about where a homes energy consumption is going. The first two sensors are used to monitor the total consumption of the home and the remaining 16 are used to measure other major loads or areas.

The CURB Pro is designed for the typical home that has a single electrical panel (Circuit breaker box).

CURB Pro Duo:

The CURB Pro Duo is designed for larger homes that have two electrical panels or a solar system. The CURB Pro Duo system comes with two CURB Pro main units as well as a total of 36 sensors. The first two sensors are used to the monitor the total consumption of the home and the remaining 34 are used to measure other major loads and solar generation.

The CURB Pro Duo is designed for larger home. The first panel is typically outside and powers the air conditioners and pool pumps (all the big stuff). The second one is linked to by the first one and powers everything else in the house.

So, how accurate is the data?
According to CURB, they have been testing CURB in homes over the past year and their sensors were coming in at 99.5% accuracy on 18 individual circuits – that means they are monitoring all of your major appliances (AC, washer, dryer, stove, fridge, furnace fan, hot water heater, etc) as well as the specific zones or areas powered by specific breakers. Their sensors capture data at a rate of 8,000 times per second and report that data back to you via CURB’s dashboard every second of every day, so data is truly realtime.
CURB, energy monitoring - home intelligenceCurrently Curb is available through Indiegogo and Amazon, and are working with electricians to get these systems installed. Alternatively, Curb is talking with solar power providers to use the Curb system to monitor the energy output of panels while also providing the deep energy usage data.
Data is power and Curb has the potential to radically change how consumers use their electricity output. At the moment the system is rather basic and only provides a high level overview but hopefully as the company grows and expands, capabilities are added and new insights are gained.