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REGEN Energy: using "swarm logic" to manage energy use

Tyler Hamilton's picture

Tyler Hamilton is a business columnist for the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper. In addition to this Clean Break blog, Tyler writes a weekly column of the same name that...

  • Member since 2018
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  • Sep 3, 2007

My Clean Break column today takes a look at a Toronto-based company called REGEN Energy, which has developed wireless controllers that attach to various appliances in a building that cycle on and off. The controllers communicate with each other and organized themselves so that none of the appliances cycle on at the same time. Their goal is to smooth out their peak energy consumption, saving the building owner from paying peak pricing and helping maximize the efficiency of the grid. The beauty with these devices is that you don’t need to centrally control them. They’re designed as an emergent system, using what’s often referred to as swarm logic to self-organized and co-ordinate their actions to solve problems — kind of the ways bees and ants do it in nature. The company is so confident that its technology can reduce building energy bills that they’ve chosen a rental model as their main stream of revenue. Potential customers are guaranteed an immediate payback by saving more money on their monthly bill than the rental charge of the controllers. Not a bad deal.
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