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June 18th, 2008
Onset Computer Corporation Partners with Mass-Based Home Developer to Track Eco-Friendly Home Heat

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PR – A local technology company meets a forward-thinking home developer to help expand the green mission in Massachusetts. Cape Cod-based Onset Computer Corporation, a supplier of web-based energy monitoring systems, has recently partnered with Bridgewater-based Orchard Knoll, LLC to track the performance of new eco-friendly home heating and cooling systems being installed in Wayside Farm homes, a new 66-unit development in East Bridgewater, MA.

Developer and engineer Mike McGonigle explained that each colonial-style home features a geothermal heat exchange system, supplied by Coneco Geothermal Systems, that takes advantage of temperatures deep in the Earth to help keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Water is pumped through a loop down a 300- to 400-foot well and back up to a heat exchanger in the basement.

Since the average temperature of the ground at that depth is stable year-round, once the water in the loop reaches the basement, heat is either transferred to the homes air in winter, or removed from it during warmer months.

Many factors can affect system performance, ranging from water flow and pressure to outdoor temperature and the motor runtime of the heat exchanger.

To ensure optimal performance, we recognized early on that we needed a system for capturing data, and I researched the different systems available, said McGonigle. He chose a HOBO® U30 Remote Monitoring System manufactured by nearby Onset Computer Corporation. The system consists of a GSM cellular-based data logging unit mounted on the wall in the model homes basement, and sensors that plug into the unit. The sensors monitor indoor and outdoor temperature and relative humidity, as well as power usage of the geothermal unit, well pump, and the whole home.

The HOBO U30 collects data all day, every day, and the information is accessible via the web at the following address:

You can upload data and have it formatted and presented to a website anywhere, said McGonigle. I can wake up at four in the morning and know exactly what the heating units doing. Its very valuable information for engineers to be able to look at the behavior of a system as its operating.

The goal is to have a monitor in the model home display energy data in real time for prospective homeowners to see. The developers also plan to offer a U30 unit to each homebuyer so they can keep tabs on their energy savings.

McGonigle has learned valuable information already about the duty cycles of the heat pump, and has been able to adjust the system. The monitoring system will continue to be valuable in the future as the developers plan to add solar thermal units to the homes roofs to further help with home heating and the hot water supply.

The new Wayside Farm development is located on Route 18 in East Bridgewater, MA, and is being built by Orchard Knoll, LLC and Coneco.

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