Impromptu Homecamp Meetup Wed 20th January

There has been quite a lot of discussion on the Homecamp Google Group and at the Christmas Party about a regular meetup in London.  So Ken from Onzo suggested we meet on Wednesday to get the ball rolling and to plan for future Homecamp events and meetups – both regular micro events and the not so regular bigger Homecamp events proper.

So Wednesday 20th January at the Windmill Pub in Epworth Street, London, UK.  3 or 4 minutes from Old Street Tube station (Northern Line) and free WIFI.  About 6.30 / 7pm till 8pm?  Ideas on this time please folks.

Here is a google map of the location

If you are thinking of coming along, please leave a comment on this blog.


January 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm 64 comments

The Home Camp Christmas Party 17 Dec 09

With Christmas just around the corner, we decided to have a party for the HomeCamp community.  All hardware hackers and homecampers are welcome to come along.

Signup at Eventbrite


Held at the Horse and Groom pub, 28 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3NZ

3pm – midnight

Nearest tube: Liverpool Street – Map

The Christmas Lights Hack Competition

We’re running a competition for the best Christmas lights hack.  So bring along your prototypes with a chance to win prizes from and Current Cost.

Our Sponsors

The Home Camp Christmas Party sponsors are Redmonk, Rabbit MQ, Current Cost and Onzo.  We have a free bar until the budget runs out, so arrive early for free beer!

December 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

The week in news…

What with the UK government officially announcing their smart meter plans and Beijing having a (first?) smart grid conference, it’s been a busy week in the news for home energy monitoring. The main focuses have been on the costs of mass implementation, how much more the tech will innovate and the need to educate consumers for any degree of success.

  • Living in the USA? Clean tech jobs and big investment are coming to a state near you.
  • The government outlines their thinking on smart meters for every home by 2020 – includes £6m earmarked to help suppliers develop smart technology – not quite on the level of the US investment, but a start. The question most often raised is how smart are the government being in their introduction of smart tech? Notably…
  • While I’m never a fan of the Daily Fail, it’s interesting to see what the backlash against smart meters is going to look like. Cost to the consumer is the major concern. Is the government’s reliance on competition between energy suppliers to drive down costs passed on to consumers enough?
  • A nation of power stations? A fair proportion of energy production is going to go local over the next ten years. Smart meters should include a measurement of power fed back into the grid in order to maximise their usefulness.
  • Why China is going to implement the smart grid quicker than India. A more in depth analysis of the Beijing smart grid conference can be found here – particularly interesting to hear the view of wind power as clean energy but dirty technology.
  • This comment on a recent survey of US and Canadian consumers shows there’s agreement across the pond that the mass roll out of smart meters won’t work without accompanying consumer education. So how best to facilitate that?

December 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm Leave a comment

Interesting things knocking about on the web this week…

November 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

Home Camp 3 and other things…

Yes, Home Camp 3 – the rise of the monitoring devices – is upon us. It being part 3, we thought we’d take the not particularly logical step of having 3 options on dates – 21 Nov, 28 Nov, 5 Dec –  and we’d like to know which one suits all you lovely Home Camp folk the best.

Tweet your preference to @ohrworm, reply in the comments here or let us know on the Google Group. Whatever does it for you, just make sure you let us know if you want to come any play…

Interesting stuff on the web this week:

November 3, 2009 at 10:36 am 2 comments

Home energy monitoring is a hit at BarCampLondon7

Thanks to @adamcohenrose for letting us upload his notes from the home energy monitoring talks at BarCampLondon7. Check out his blog here:

Saturday, 24 October 2009 BarCampLondon7: Energy Efficiency & Usage Monitoring

Nigel Crawley

  • digital meter — LED flashes fast or slow depending on how much electricity you use
  • can pick that up with an arduino with wifi and then make available as EEML
  • EEML ( — XML for electricity cost
    • can humm output eeml?
  • can then input into Pachube
  • can then do visualization like this: BBC spiral viz of podcast #bcl7 on Twitpic
  • lilypad arduino — can sew into clothes
    • can include a vibra-ball
  • can recognise individual devices by whole home electricity usage
    • fridge, kettle, toaster, electric oven
  • Tom Raftery —
    • devices using too much electricity — an organisation will offer to replace it and tell you the savings
    • Camden, New Jersey: government offers subsidies on lower energy appliances
  • visualisations:
    • one for schools that showed a polar bear running out of iceberg
    • DisplayLink have done a blog post on energy visualisation

Gbenga Kogbe

  • the UK will run out of energy by 2014… we must save
  • comparing with your neighbours
  • mancini project — plug by plug usage
  • there was some effort in the Zigbee standard — all appliances would publish their usage to a standard hub
  • energyhive provided reduced price meters
    • research that came out showed that by the end of the trial, loads of meters were in the drawer and not used
    • several 1000 homes included in trial
  • putting information online and sharing it is much more effective than a little meter in the corner
  • in some places, there are dynamic tariffs
    • would like to tell dishwasher to wash when it’s cheap
    • not in the UK…
    • energy providers buy at realtime, but sell at flat rate
  • Dale Lane: energy costs vary between 2p and £3 a unit!!
    • it’s in their interest to get us to use it at the right times
  • base electricity is provided by nuclear power
  • peak is provided by hydro
  • figure out national supply by checking frequency
    • brownouts caused by frequency going too low
    • looking at making fridges turn themselves off when the frequency is lower
    • if all fridges did this, then peaks would be made less
    • see also
  • in California they have battery farms (since the 80s)
  • solar panels are less efficient in the heat…
    • they get powered by light, not heat
  • bike generators:
    • bikes available for free — have generators
    • when they are parked, they provide their power for the local buses

October 28, 2009 at 8:05 pm 1 comment

Some interesting stuff knocking about on the web…

…from a week or so ago.

  • Microsoft positions itself as the platform that can integrate smart energy tech with SERA.
  • Germany takes a giant leap into the energy revolution with, among other grand plans, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology’s E-Energy scheme. Billed as “intelligent networking of energy generation, distribution and consumption”, 6 projects are being piloted which place the empowered consumer at the heart of the energy marketplace. You can check out the full E-Energy story here (PDF alert!).
  • Google PowerMeter get the energy detectives on the case with the TED 5,000 partnership.  Thanks @divydovy for flagging that one up.
  • The Guardian gets excited about a new smart meter from Intelligent Sustainable Energy. Any Oxford Home Campers had a sneak peek at this one?
  • And it looks like the Home Camp concept has caught on over the pond. The premier conference eh? I guess that makes us the protopremier unconference.

October 27, 2009 at 11:46 pm 8 comments

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