The assignee for this patent, patent number 8523084, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Controllers are used on a wide variety of devices and systems for controlling various functions in homes and/or buildings and their related grounds. Some controllers have schedule programming that modifies device parameters such as set points as a function of date and/or time. Some such device or system controllers that utilize schedule programming for controlling various functions in homes and/or buildings and their related grounds include, for example, HVAC controllers, water heater controllers, water softener controllers, security system controllers, lawn sprinkler controllers, and lighting system controllers.
"HVAC controllers, for example, are employed to monitor and, if necessary, control various environmental conditions within a home, office, or other enclosed space. Such devices are useful, for example, in regulating any number of environmental conditions with a particular space including for example, temperature, humidity, venting, air quality, etc. The controller may include a microprocessor that interacts with other components in the system. For example, in many modern thermostats for use in the home, a controller unit equipped with temperature and/or humidity sensing capabilities may be provided to interact with a heater, blower, flue vent, air compressor, humidifier and/or other components, to control the temperature and humidity levels at various locations within the home. A sensor located within the controller unit and/or one or more remote sensors may be employed to sense when the temperature or humidity reaches a certain threshold level, causing the controller unit to send a signal to activate or deactivate one or more component in the system.
"The controller may be equipped with a user interface that allows the user to monitor and adjust the environmental conditions at one or more locations within the building. With more modern designs, the interface typically includes a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel inset within a housing that contains the microprocessor as well as other components of the controller. In some designs, the user interface may permit the user to program the controller to activate on a certain schedule determined by the user. For example, the interface may include a separate menu routine that permits the user to change the temperature at one or more times during a particular day. Once the settings for that day have been programmed, the user can then repeat the process to change the settings for the other remaining days. Such a schedule may help reduce energy consumption of the HVAC system by changing the set point to an energy saving set back temperature during certain times.
"Most structures are serviced by one or more utilities, such as an electric utility, a gas utility, a water utility and others. The expense of using these utility services continues to rise, particularly during peak demand periods. In order to better serve its customers, and in some cases to help reduce demand during peak or other periods, it would be advantageous for a utility to be able to directly and more efficiently communicate with its customers."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present disclosure pertains generally to thermostats that are adapted to assist utilities in communicating with its customers. In particular, the present disclosure relates to a thermostat having a display, a controller and a receiver that is coupled to the controller. The receiver is adapted to receive messages from a utility, and the controller is adapted to display related display messages on the display.
"The above summary is not intended to describe each disclosed embodiment or every implementation of the present invention. The Figures and Detailed Description that follow more particularly exemplify these embodiments."
For more information, see this patent: Siddaramanna, Lokesh T.; Chandrashekar,
Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, Microprocessors,
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