Newsletter – September 2015


TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

United States Electricity Price per KWH
Present and Past


June July Trend % Change
$0.143 $0.142 Decrease -0.70%


Year July Trend % Change % Since Difference
2005 $0.105 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
2006 $0.118 Increase 12.38% 12.38% 12.38%
2007 $0.122 Increase 3.39% 16.19% 3.81%
2008 $0.131 Increase 7.38% 24.76% 8.57%
2009 $0.131 Same 0.00% 24.76% 0.00%
2010 $0.133 Increase 1.53% 26.67% 1.90%
2011 $0.135 Increase 1.50% 28.57% 1.90%
2012 $0.133 Decrease -1.48% 26.67% -1.90%
2013 $0.137 Increase 3.01% 30.48% 3.81%
2014 $0.143 Increase 4.38% 36.19% 5.71%
2015 $0.142 Decrease -0.70% 35.24% -0.95%


United Kingdom Utility Prices
Present and Past


London by night

EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

Demand Response
A new technology standard has been produced by ASHRAE and NEMA. An article explains the term facility has been redefined by ASHRAE within this standard to broadly encompass residential, multi-residential, industrial, commercial and institutional buildings. This is paramount, as ASHRAE historically defines standards based upon the facility type. Another article emphasizes the ASHRAE logic to design the standard. Oddly, no interest is present to have information technology contribute to their standard. This is seen by an absence of any information technology references for adherence to other standards contained in their new standard. The standard is available for public review, at a behemoth 1,077 pages.

The absence of directly matching to existing technology standards for a comprehensive security model, in combination with the lengthy page count, means there is little potential this new standard will gain widespread traction. The standard will most likely be accepted by BACnet, the endorsed ASHRAE technology option. However, BACnet has no security model. A Financial Officer attempting to achieve a Cost Benefit Analysis for implementing this new technology standard will have their work cut out for them, as they must account for the cost of security when neither ASHRAE, BACnet, nor NEMA can provide them formulated guidance.

Smart Grid – Consumer
Nest has released the 3rd version of their thermostat device. An article reviews the new device. Another article finds shortcomings with the device. Nest states, “the Nest Learning Thermostat is on millions of walls in millions of homes around the world.” This statement is inexact, as their publicly stated position has their offering is only available in 7 countries. “If you choose to use Nest products outside the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Ireland, or the Netherlands, you do so on your own initiative, and you are solely responsible for complying with applicable local laws in your country. To the extent permissible by law, Nest accepts no responsibility or liability for any damage or loss caused by use of Nest products in countries other than those listed above.”

The first cited article speaks of increasing competition in this market space. A recent study does find considerable competition in this space, with Honeywell and Nest scoring highest in ranking of Smart Thermostat vendors. A separate study finds Opower and Nest lead the Home Energy Management vendors market segment.

The evidence is clear. The consumer market increasingly wants a network enabled HVAC thermostat device in their residential premises. Nest is the leading thermostat device and energy management option, by far. It does seem odd the leader in this space does not have more to offer for energy management analysis and only has limited adoption by public utilities for testing viability. It seems the public utilities are not ready to use a third party to achieve consumer (residential) level Demand Response.

If this is the case, then the unwillingness of the public utility means Nest will never have widespread adoption, particularly for utility endorsed Demand Response. This means there is no offering for time-of-use pricing. The clearest message is the public utility must have more trust in any technology option compared to what they presently have in someone like either Nest or Honeywell. It is doubtful a public utility will ever find such trust. An entity such as Honeywell or Nest would have to become responsible for public infrastructure and the definition of a public utility would have to also change. This is highly unlikely. The public utility would do best to bring this responsibility in their house and under their control by using a freely available software offering to achieve large-scale network connected HVAC thermostat management.

Smart Grid – Producer
Japan has returned to using nuclear as a source of electricity. This return has not come without contention. The Japanese position is stated as one of recovery, meaning they cannot continue without nuclear as a source of electricity for their country either today or the foreseeable future. The years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster mean nothing in view of inadequate supply and rising demand for consumption. The message is clear; demand will win in any competition to determine acceptable supply options. The simpler option to increasing supply is to use efficiency to lower total demand.


Status of our 2015 Plan


  • We are in TESTING stage.
  • We are approximately 35% finished with TESTING.
  • The code is operating much faster now compared to version 1.1.
  • The user experience is enriched by an expanded set of capabilities in the user interface.


  • We have simplified index.php to have lesser fields for displaying thermostat profiles, through the usage of supporting web forms.
  • These additional web forms accommodate handling more information and separating information changing on a less frequent basis from the view of index.php page.
  • We have separated sensor calibration from the index.php page, to avoid any risk of inadvertently altering calibration settings.
  • We have achieved selecting thermostats by group functionality.
  • The outcome is only viewing what is necessary for changing HVAC control settings.


  • We maintain our position to release a subsequent version, 2.1, within six months of releasing v2.0, as we do not want to delay MVC from being available to the general public.

Translation Subsystem

  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.


  • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.


We are pleased to announce development of GNU remotecontrol version 2.0 is complete. This milestone is no small task. We spent months considering what we have with the goal of coding to Model-View-Controller. We discussed, at length, what needs changing and how those changes need to occur. The code operates much faster compared to version 1.1 and has more features. The user experience is enriched by an expanded set of capabilities in the user interface.

We have arrived at a point of both satisfaction and surprise. Satisfaction with the work accomplished, while surprised at the results. We see small changes to the user interface with large changes to the code running the user interface. The overall look and feel is similar, but there are significant changes to the flow of using the user interface. We are now much better positioned to accomplish far-reaching unattended sever side automation. The effort to code for Model-View-Controller has paid off. We now have more capabilities with less effort to deliver those capabilities. More to come, stay tuned!

Please contact us, if you would like to participate in the completion of version 2.0.

Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

  • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
  • How to READ from it (CODE).
  • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

A report detailing the structure and size of the home area network (HAN) market does not address the key question of comprehensive security. The report is valuable to understand the market players, but does not identify how to safely implement HAN technologies through a trusted or untrusted network. The assumption is this is covered by a vendor, but this assumption is not clearly stated.

GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.


Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.


Why the Affero GPL?

GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

GNU remotecontrol LOGO

2 Responses to Newsletter – September 2015

  1. Pingback: Newsletter – October 2015 | GNU remotecontrol

  2. Pingback: Newsletter – December 2015 | GNU remotecontrol

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