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The Toon is a Smart Thermostat, which can control the temperature in the room, but is also a device which provides insight on energy usage.
Energy Use: Electricity & Gas
Because the Toon is connected to the Smart Meter, it can display current energy use. As soon as you switch on an appliance that consumes power, it is shown on the Toon display and in the App.
When you have solar panels, the power from them is registered on the meter and also on Toon. This requires a small extra component to install though. Always nice to see how many kWh was generated vs consumed during a nice sunny day! But also I’ve been amazed by the generation during the day in not-so-sunny days.
Smart Plugs, Lights, etc
Toon can be connected to other smart devices to interact. This can be a smart plug or smoke detector from Fibaro, or some Philips Hue lights. These are officially supported. I also have a Homey from Athom that can be connected. In that way the Toon can be used to interact with other smart devices in my home. I’ve tested this and it has worked. Lately the connection is broken, Quby claims the API is up and running without any issues. On the Github of the Homey-Toon App and the Homey User Forum it appears more people are having trouble with the app.
When you register your friends code in Toon, you can compare how well you perform with them. Alternatively, you can compare your energy consumption matched with similar, but anonymous households. The last comparison that is possible, is to check how your actual consumption is doing versus the estimated usage by Eneco. Always good to see you’re beating the estimate!
Interested in more?
If you are working at a utility and would like to get Toon to work for your clients, please check out the Toon website. If you want to get a Toon at your house, please do check the customer page at Eneco.
For the past few years I have been involved in district heating at Eneco. An industry I was not really aware of before I started at Eneco. I have learned a lot and have been able to apply much of my engineering and startup experience here. Besides district heating I have entertained myself with the concepts of Blockchain, finding many interesting applications for energy as a bonus. On top of that, I moved into a new home about a year ago, learning more about the actual benefits of solar panels, smart thermostats and home automation.
District heating is gaining a lot of attention in the Netherlands as more and more we realize the era of natural gas is coming to an end. Currently district heating supplies around 300.000 homes in the Netherlands with heat. The rest of the 7.000.000 are mostly supplied natural gas. With gas phasing out, there is a huge potential to make heating of Dutch houses more sustainable. The two most discussed solutions being district heating (mainly urban areas) and heat pumps.
Last year we moved into our new home and we still love it! It is properly isolated, has solar panels to generate solar and is fitted with a low temperature heating system. The panels supply just shy of our annual consumption. Tuning our central heating system for the use of low temperature supply we used about a third of what a Dutch household uses on average in natural gas.
Working at Eneco and moving into this new house finally allowed me to get our Eneco smart thermostat, the Toon. The main benefits in the first few weeks were that my girlfriend also was made aware of energy. I still consider that a great plus that people with no direct interest in energy or a tech background can understand at a glance what is happening with their energy consumption and production.
The Toon can trigger lights and smart plugs, but the engineer in me wanted to be able to do more. We recently installed a Homey, which is a great extension to our/my home automation efforts. This is still a work in progress and I will have to install quite a few switches in the wall sockets, but the scalability allows me to do this one switch at a time.
Blockchain is a concept I came across on blogs about two years ago now. Back then, blockchain was only associated with Bitcoin, which is some sort of currency. Default for most people at the time was that blockchain was also some sort of currency. Understanding the implocations of a distributed database, the peer-2-peer mechanism and the cryptography, I knew I needed to apply this to energy. For the past two years within Eneco I have done some interesting little project on the side to explore blockchain and its use cases with a strong focus on energy.
Planning next step
I am also pondering a next step within Eneco, with plenty of opportunities to apply the entrepreneur and engineer in me on. District heating is about to grow exponentially, home automation is a field Eneco is positioning the Toon in which is also a personal interest. Or blockchain, for which I see a bright future and where I have learned a lot about in two years. Or perhaps I will find a way to combine all of the above, who knows?