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System and Method for Smart Water and Related Energy Consumption

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000212737D
Publication Date: 2011-Nov-26
Document File: 2 page(s) / 22K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method and system to reduce energy and water consumption by individuals and organizations, by monitoring water temperature and taking certain actions once a desired temperature is achieved is disclosed.

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System and Method for Smart Water and Related Energy Consumption

Disclosed is a method and system to reduce energy and water consumption by individuals and organizations, by monitoring water temperature and taking certain actions once a desired temperature is achieved.

The physical characteristic which differentiates a spigot from other valves is the lack of any type of a mechanical thread or fastener on the outlet. Water for baths, sinks and basins can be provided by separate hot and cold taps. This arrangement is common in older installations, particularly in public washrooms/lavatories and utility rooms/laundries. In kitchens and bathrooms mixer taps are commonly used. In this case, hot and cold water from the two valves is mixed together before reaching the outlet, allowing the water to emerge at any temperature between that of the hot and cold water supplies. For baths and showers, mixer taps frequently incorporate some sort of pressure balancing feature so that the hot/cold mixture ratio will not be affected by transient changes in the pressure of one or the other of the supplies. This helps avoid scalding or uncomfortable chilling as other water loads occur. Rather than two separate valves, mixer taps frequently use a single, more complex, valve controlled by a single handle (single handle mixer). The handle moves up and down to control the amount of water flow and from side to side to control the temperature of the water. Especially for baths and showers, the latest designs do this using a built in thermostat. These are known as thermostatic mixing valves (TMVs) and can be mechanical or electronic. There are also faucets with color Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to show the temperature of the water.

For certain types of valves it is possible to waste water if the operator of the faucet sets a the temperature to the desired temperature and does not notice when the desired temperature is reached. Because of this, often significant amounts of water are used by users of water faucets as they attempt to obtain a desired water temperature.

With certain types of valves, the user may set a single mixer valve to the desired position. However, other requirements, such aesthetics may require the installation of other valve types without these features.

The desired temperature is determined by some means. This may be the relative faucet position or by other means, e.g., a temperature sensor may monitor the temperature of the water flow. When the desired temperature of the water flow has reaching the expected desired threshold, the water flow is then mechanically reduced or terminated. The mechanical termination may take the form of a servo or other motor control. If space or electrical constraints prevent the use of a servo, an audible sound or alert may be issued to inform the user that the water has reached the desired temperature.

In an example embodiment, the water faucet provides verbal and visual feedback about water usage. For e...