The concept of the “smart home” has become a reality for many Texans. But if one inventor has his way, it’s about to go a lot further.
Elon Musk, a guy some of you may have heard of who owns the futurist-friendly car company Tesla, has designs on reinventing the way we think about air conditioning.
While smart homes of today allow you to control your thermostat from your phone, Musk sees a more energy efficient way for AC units to operate.
Smart Home, Smarter AC
Musk appeared on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan podcast and discussed several ideas about artificial intelligence, his cars, and the future course of mankind. But it’s what he didn’t say that has many in the energy world buzzing.
“I cannot answer questions about potential future products.”
This one line was in response to a discussion Musk and Rogan had about where the air conditioning market could go from where it is now.
Musk’s company is famous for its electric cars. While Teslas haven’t quite made it into the mainstream — that is, a very small group of people are actually driving them — many believe their use will one day become widespread.
Tesla already has the power to track its vehicles’ movements. That would place home heating and air units in a prime position to know when you’re leaving the house and when you’re coming home.
In Musk’s mind, it would only take a few small tweaks to have an AC unit that “spoke” to the car and readied the house for your departure and arrival.
Heating and Air on a Granular Level
But beyond this, Musk’s concept wouldn’t just “know” to heat and cool your home to the preferred temperatures. No, it would be able to tell which rooms of the house you’re most likely to use and isolate its energy output to those rooms.
So, theoretically speaking, if the AC interfaces with your car, a typical day would look something like this.
- 7:15 a.m. — you leave for work, the AC shuts down.
- 5:15 p.m. — you leave for home. It takes 45 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to cool your entire home to the temperature you prefer. The car then “signals” to the AC to start cooling 15 minutes into your drive. But, if you’re only going to use two rooms and it takes 10 minutes to cool them off simultaneously, then the AC would know to only dispense energy to those rooms. As a result, it wouldn’t have to start until you were 35 minutes into your drive.
- 6 p.m. — you’re home. The rest of the evening, the AC unit merely maintains the requested temperature in those two rooms while keeping the rest of the house — the part you’re not using — at higher temperatures.
Musk’s coyness in his non-response indicates this could be more than a pipe dream but an actual product in development. But only time will tell.
What Do You Think of the Smart AC Concept?
Anything that saves money, we like. But what do you think of the “Smart AC” concept? Would you want one of these in your home, or do you still have hangups about which areas of your life you choose to “connect”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.