EnergyHub: Bringing the Smart Grid Home


Brooklyn, N.Y.-based EnergyHub™ has designed an innovative home energy dashboard in SolidWorks® software that can help homeowners lower their energy bills and utilities satisfy customers.


The EnergyHub Dashboard, one of TIME magazine’s Best Inventions of 2009, combines the functionality of a home energy display and programmable thermostat. Homeowners can control their energy usage, from the furnace to the last cell phone charger, with utter simplicity.


The dashboard serves as the consumer face to the smart grid, which is an evolving worldwide power generation and metering system designed to flatten and reduce energy demand.


New York City-based EnergyHub used SolidWorks software to design the touch-screen device, incorporate off-the-shelf parts, integrate electronic circuitry, and communicate with partners.


“The design challenge was to make the dashboard elegant, user-friendly, and simple so consumers could reap all the efficiencies technology can offer without having to geek out,” said Stephan von Muehlen, design director and co-founder of EnergyHub. “We quickly and intuitively executed all the industrial design, mechanical design, and electronic integration with SolidWorks. It was easy to enlist outside design partners for bits and pieces. Since SolidWorks is an industry standard, it was easy to exchange files, whether in STEP, IGES or native SolidWorks form.”


Von Muehlen used SustainabilityXpress, included in SolidWorks 2010, to help ensure that parts and materials made the lowest possible environmental footprint while still satisfying business objectives.


Like SolidWorks, EnergyHub is simple yet powerful. For example, users can boil multifaceted energy decisions down to commands like at home, goodnight, and away. Users can access data and control their home via the Web as well. Utilities can send messages to EnergyHub owners and help them compare their usage against their community’s.


EnergyHub is in pilot programs with utilities throughout the United States and will be sold through a variety of channels, including utilities, OEM partners, big box stores, e-commerce sites, and service providers like electricians.


“The EnergyHub system is an easy way to help green the planet,” said von Muehlen. “SolidWorks very much complements our ease-of-use commitment. And though I’ve used a lot of different computer-aided design products in my career, I prefer SolidWorks by a longshot. Every release has gotten better and better, and SolidWorks is how I think when I think in 3D.”


EnergyHub relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Cimquest Inc. for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.