Dial up efficiency with smartphone apps

Dial up efficiency with smartphone apps

Tool calculates energy savings of VFDs

A new tool from Rockwell Automation lets engineers use mobile devices or computers to calculate the potential savings derived from using variable frequency drives (VFDs) to power pumps and fans. The tool may be used as an online calculator or downloaded as a free mobile app to any iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android. With the new calculator, users can compare VFDs to mechanical flow control methods, such as valves for pumps and dampers for fans and see the estimated cost savings. Users can enter the minimum pump or flow percentages, annual operating hours, cost per kilowatt, and other information about their own facilities — or simply use the sample data built into the tool. Visit or download for free at the iTunes store or

App works as remote control for lighting, thermostats, music

The free Control4 MyHome app turns any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch into a touchscreen remote control for the Control4 home automation system, purchased separately. In a Control4-enabled home, the app lets users manage their systems over a local WiFi network within the home, with security features that identify and authenticate the control system to the user's mobile device. Users can manage lighting, thermostats, audio, video, Web cameras, security, and more with simple taps and gestures. The app lets users control their installed automation systems with a user-friendly interface featuring links to widely used features from the main screen. For more information, visit or download free at the iTunes store.

Compute savings from switching to LED bulbs

The EnerSave app by developer David Holzer computes usage and maintenance savings when switching between conventional light bulbs and replacement LEDs. LEDs consume less power than fluorescent bulbs for the same light output and have lower maintenance costs because they don't require special ballasts. EnerSave calculates how much can be saved by switching to LEDs, as well as the reduction in CO2. The app's features help create a new bulb usage scenario, allow entry of the number of bulbs to be replaced, customize other values for maintenance calculations and usage costs, and display the computed usage and maintenance costs and the computed breakeven point. Developers say calculations are estimates based on input values, and actual savings may vary. Download for $2.99 at the iTunes store. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Solar panel placement app now free

One of the smartphone tools featured in our last issue — the SunFinder app from Luca Polverini — is now available free of charge. The app helps users discover how much energy they can expect to draw from the sun, as well as finding the best location to install a solar power system. Download for free at the iTunes store or

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