GB2501765A - Apparatus to control a central heating system using a remote server - Google Patents

Apparatus to control a central heating system using a remote server Download PDF

Info

Publication number
GB2501765A
GB2501765A GB1207884.6A GB201207884A GB2501765A GB 2501765 A GB2501765 A GB 2501765A GB 201207884 A GB201207884 A GB 201207884A GB 2501765 A GB2501765 A GB 2501765A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
relay
system
control
hvac
thermostat
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB1207884.6A
Other versions
GB201207884D0 (en
Inventor
Jason Morjaria
Original Assignee
Jason Morjaria
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Jason Morjaria filed Critical Jason Morjaria
Priority to GB1207884.6A priority Critical patent/GB2501765A/en
Publication of GB201207884D0 publication Critical patent/GB201207884D0/en
Publication of GB2501765A publication Critical patent/GB2501765A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D23/00Control of temperature
    • G05D23/19Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means
    • G05D23/1902Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means characterised by the use of a variable reference value
    • G05D23/1905Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means characterised by the use of a variable reference value associated with tele control
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D19/00Details
    • F24D19/10Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices including control or safety methods
    • F24D19/1006Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices including control or safety methods for water heating systems
    • F24D19/1009Arrangement or mounting of control or safety devices including control or safety methods for water heating systems for central heating
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D23/00Control of temperature
    • G05D23/19Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means
    • G05D23/20Control of temperature characterised by the use of electric means with sensing elements having variation of electric or magnetic properties with change of temperature

Abstract

An apparatus to control a central heating system comprises a relay 104 coupled to the system, a thermostat 106 in wireless communication with the relay, and a server 110 located remotely from the system, i.e. in a separate building. The thermostat determines an ambient temperature and communicates the temperature to the relay. The server receives the temperature from the relay and generates one or more instructions based upon the ambient temperature, which are sent to the relay to control operation of the system. Ideally, the one or more instructions can start/stop a boiler 102 of the system and set desired temperature thresholds of one or more thermostatic radiator valves 108 of respective radiators 114. The relay may communicate with the server over the internet using a local WiFi router 112. A user may use a web portal to enter desired objectives of the system on the server, such as desired start times and target temperatures. The server may use other user information, such as GPS tracking of the user or third-party application programming interfaces, to control the system. If communication between the relay and the server fails, the thermostat can resume control of the system.

Description

tM:;: INTELLECTUAL S... * PROPERTY OFFICE Application No. 0B1207884.6 RTM Date:10 April 2013 The following terms are registered trademarks and should be read as such wherever they occur in this document: Facebook Google Twitter Intellectual Properly Office is an operaling name of Ihe Patent Office www.ipo.gov.uk

HVAC CONTROL SYSTEM

BackQround This invention relates to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) control systems, and in particular to HVAC control systems that dynamically adapt to user activity.

Traditionally, central heating and/or cooling systems were controlled by a thermostat which detected changes in the room temperature. lithe change in the room temperature fell above or below a predetermined high or low value then the thermostat would trigger the HVAC unit to heat or cool the room. Thermostats regulated room temperature in this manner regardless of whether or not the home or building was occupied. Since many buildings or homes may be unoccupied for long periods of time, the continuous operation of the HVAC system resulted in a significant amount of wasted energy.

Attempts have been made to reduce the amount of energy wasted by allowing the thermostats to be programmed with a schedule to achieve certain predetermined temperatures at predetermined times of the day. In this manner the energy consumed by the HVAC system can be reduced during times when the building is not being occupied.

However, the energy savings realized with a schedule-based system are reduced when the occupancy pattern is irregular or there are any unplanned changes to the occupancy routine.

However, these systems do not dynamically adapt to user activity. Furthermore, they often don't allow the heating and/or cooling of individual rooms to be independently controlled which would further reduce the amount of wasted energy. For example, having the ability to turn off or turn down the heat in a room that is rarely used would significantly reduce the amount of wasted energy.

There is therefore a requirement for a HVAC control system with improved adaptability, processing power and control over individual rooms.

The embodiments described below are not limited to implementations which solve any or all of the disadvantages of known HVAC control systems.

Summary

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key features or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used as an aid in determining the scope of the claimed subject matter.

There is provided a system to control a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, comprising a relay coupled to the HVAC system, the relay configured to control operation of the HVAC system; a thermostat in wireless communication with the relay, the thermostat configured to determine the ambient temperature and wirelessly transmit the ambient temperature to the relay; and a server located remotely from the HVAC system, the server configured to receive HVAC status information from the relay and to generate one or more instructions based on the HVAC status information, the HVAC status information comprising the ambient temperature; wherein the relay is configured to control operation of the HVAC system based on the one or more instructions generated by the server.

The HVAC system may comprise a boiler and the relay may be configured to control operation of the HVAC by turning the boiler on or off based on the one or more instructions generated by the server.

The HVAC system may comprise one or more radiators and the control system may further comprise one or more thermostatic radiator valves (TRy), wherein each TRV is coupled to one of the one or more radiators and is configured to control the operation of the corresponding radiator.

Each TRV may be in wireless communication with the thermostat and controls the operation of the corresponding radiator based on TRV control information received from the thermostat.

The one or more instructions generated by the server may comprise a desired temperature setting for one or more TRVs, and the TRV control information comprises the desired temperature setting.

The thermostat may wirelessly communicate with the one or more TRVs using a broadcast protocol.

Each TRV may be configured to control the operation of the corresponding radiator by increasing or decreasing the amount of water flowing into the radiator.

The server may be configured to generate one or more instructions in response to receiving the HVAC status information by analyzing the HVAC status information and desired objectives provided by the user.

The server may comprise a web portal that allows users to provide the desired objectives to the server.

The desired objectives may comprise at least one desired temperature value, wherein the desired temperature value relates to one of a house, a building, and a room.

The at least one temperature value may be associated with one of a time, time range, date, and date range.

The server may be configured to generate one or more instructions in response to receiving the HVAC status information by analyzing the HVAC status information, desired objectives provided by the user and non-direct information obtained about the user.

The thermostat may be further configured to receive desired temperature information from a user and transmit the desired temperature information to the relay, wherein the HVAC status information further comprises the desired temperature information.

The relay may be configured to communicate with the server using a first wireless protocol and to communicate with the thermostat using a second wireless protocol.

There is also provided a method to control a heating, ventilation and air-condition (HVAC) system, the method comprising detecting the ambient temperature using a thermostat; wirelessly transmitting the ambient temperature from the thermostat to a relay coupled to the HVAC system; transmitting HVAC status information from the relay to a remote server, the HVAC status information comprising the ambient temperature; analyzing at the remote server the HVAC status information and desired objectives provided by a user; generating at the remote server one or more instructions based on the analysis; transmitting the one or more instructions from the remote server to the relay; and processing at the relay the one or more instructions to control the operation of the HVAC system.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Embodiments of the invention will be described, by way of example, with reference to the following drawings, in which: Figure lisa block diagram of a system for controlling a central heating and/or cooling system; Figure 2 is a block diagram of the relay of Figure 1; Figure 3 is a block diagram of the thermostat of Figure 1; Figure 3a shows a schematic diagram of a thermostat mounting arrangement; Figure 3b shows a schematic diagram of a free-standing thermostat; Figure 4 is a block diagram of the TRV of Figure 1; Figure 4a shows a schematic diagram of a TRV; Figure 5 is a block diagram of the remote server of Figure 1; Figure 6 is a flowchart of a method of controlling a central heating and/or cooling system using the system of Figure 1 when the system is operating in normal or online mode; and Figure 7 is a flowchart of a method of controlling a central heating and/or cooling system using the system of Figure 1 when the system is operating in offline mode.

Detailed Description

Embodiments of the present invention are described below by way of example only. These examples represent the best ways of putting the invention into practice that are currently known to the Applicant although they are not the only ways in which this could be achieved.

The description sets forth the functions of the example and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the example. However, the same or equivalent functions and sequences may be accomplished by different examples.

Figure 1 shows a block diagram of a system 100 for controlling a heating, ventilation and air-condition (HVAC) system. The term HVAC is used herein to mean any central heating and/or cooling system such as a boiler system. In Figure 1, the system 100 is shown as controlling a boiler 102, but it will be evident to a person of skill in the art that the system 100 may be similarly used to control other HVAC systems.

The system 100 allows a home or building owner complete control over their central heating and/or cooling system. For example, system 100 may allow owners to control the temperature in their house or building according to a schedule and/or control the temperature in individual rooms of the home or building in realtime. In some cases the system 100 may monitor user activity and automatically adjust the temperature or schedule accordingly.

The exemplary system 100 of Figure 1 comprises a relay 104 for controlling the boiler 102, a thermostat 106 for detecting the current ambient temperature, one or more thermostatic radiator valves (TRV) 108 for controlling the temperature in individual rooms, and a remote server 110 for controlling the operation of the relay 104 based on information received from the relay 104 and information received from the user/owner. Each component of the system will be described in detail below using Figures 2 to 5.

The relay 104 is coupled to the boiler 102 and is configured to turn the boiler 102 on or off based on instructions received from the remote server 110. Typically the relay 104 communicates with the remote server 110 over the Internet. For example, as shown in Figure 1, the relay 104 may comprise a WiFi module (see Figure 2) that communicates with a local WiFi router 112 connected to the Internet. It will be evident to a person of skill in the art that although reference is made to an Internet connection, the relay 104 may communicate with the remote server 110 over any suitable data communications connection.

The relay 104 may also be configured to act as a relay between the thermostat 106 (and the TRVs 108) and the remote server 110. Specifically, the relay 104 communicates with the thermostat 106 via a radio frequency (RF) communications link and provides the information received from the thermostat 106 to the remote server 110 and vice versa. The information may comprised the current temperature, current environmental level (for example a rating from 1 -11), internet connectivity, and temperatures for particular TRVs.

The thermostat 106 detects the ambient temperature of the room in which the thermostat 106 is situated and provides this information to the remote server 110 via the relay 104. The remote server 110 uses the ambient temperature information provided by the thermostat 106 to determine if any changes should be made to the operation of the heating and/or cooling system to achieve the desired objectives (e.g. desired temperature).

The thermostat 106 may also provide means for a user to manually adjust or set the desired temperature. For example, the thermostat 106 may have a display unit that shows the user the current ambient temperature, desired temperature and the time to achieve the desired temperature if it is different than the ambient temperature. The thermostat 106 may also have an input module, such as a touch sensitive screen, that allows the user to adjust or set the desired temperature (see Figure 3).

The thermostat 106 may also be configured to act as a relay between the TRVs 108 and the remote server 110. In some cases, the thermostat 106 may have a communication module, such as an RF communication module, that allows the thermostat 106 to provide information to and/or receive information from the TRVs 108. For example, the remote server 110 may provide the relay 104 with TRV control information (e.g. new desired temperature) for one or more TRVs 108. The relay 104 provides the TRV control information to the thermostat 106 and then the thermostat 106 provides the TRV control information to the relevant TRVs 108.

In alternative embodiments the relay 104 may communciate directly with the TRVs 108.

Similarly, the TRVs may be configured to provide information (e.g. current ambient temperature) to the remote server 110 via the thermostat 106 and the relay 104. The communication paths may be varied for each installation depending on the physical layout and configuration of the system. For example, in certain installations the relay may be positioned more centrally and therefore have better links to the TRVs. The different options may be mixed within any installation as appropriate.

Each TRV 108 can be used to control the temperature in a particular room. Specifically, each TRV 108 is typically fitted to a radiator 114. The 1kV 108 controls the temperature in the room by regulating the flow of hot water to the radiator 114.

Also, as described above the TRV 108 is also typically configured to communicate with the thermostat 106 to receive TRV control information (e.g. changes to the desired temperature) from the thermostat 106. When the TRV 108 receives a change to the desired temperature, if necessary, it adjusts the flow of hot water to the radiator to achieve the desired temperature.

In some cases, the TRV 108 may also be configured to provide information (e.g. the current ambient temperature in the room) to the thermostat 106.

The remote server 110 monitors the operation of the central heating and/or cooling system and issues instructions to the relay 104 to control the operation of the heating and/or cooling system. For example, the instructions may include directions to turn on or off the boiler 102 in order to achieve desired objectives (e.g. desired temperatures) specified by the user. The instructions generated by the remote server 110 are typically based on desired objectives (e.g. desired temperatures) received from the user and HVAC status information (e.g. current ambient temperature) received from the relay 104.

As described above, the HVAC status information received from the relay 104 typically includes the current ambient temperature information of the thermostat 106. The HVAC status information may also include the current ambient temperature information of the TRVs 108 where the TRVs 108 are configured to provide such information to the relay 104.

The owner of the house or building in which the boiler 102 is situated may provide instructions to the remote server 110 to have the temperature of the house or building set according to a predefined schedule. The remote server 110 may also perform more complex functions such as monitoring user activity and automatically adjusting operation of the heating and/or cooling system accordingly.

The remote server 110 is typically remotely located from the HVAC system. The term "remotely located" is used herein to mean that the remote server 110 is located in a separate building or facility from the HVAC system. In a preferred embodiment, the remote server 110 is located in a remote facility from the HVAC system that is accessible to the HVAC system via the Internet. A remote server 110 that is simply located in a separate room from the HVAC system is not understood as being remotely located.

The system 100 may operate in either normal/online mode or offline mode depending on whether the relay 104 is able to communicate with the remote server 110. Specifically, when the relay 104 is able to communicate with the remote server 110, then the system 100 operates in normal or online mode. Conversely, when the relay 104 is unable to communicate with the remote server 110, the system 100 operates in offline mode.

In normal or online mode, the system 100 is controlled by the remote server 110. Specifically, the remote server 110 monitors the system 100 and provides instructions to the relay 104 to achieve the desired objectives. Normal or online mode will be described in more detail in relation to Figure 6.

In offline mode, the system 100 is effectively controlled by the thermostat 106. Specifically, the desired temperature of thermostat 106 becomes paramount and the relay 104 and TRVs 108 operate to achieve the desired temperature of the thermostat 106. In this mode, any changes to the system are typically made manually via the thermostat 106. Offline mode will be described in more detail in relation to Figure 7.

Figure 2 shows a bock diagram of the relay 104 of Figure 1. The relay 104 may be embedded or integrated into the boiler 102 or it may be externally mounted to the boiler 102.

The relay 104 of Figure 2 comprises a WiFi module 202 for communicating with the remote server 110, an RF transceiver 204 for communicating with the thermostat 106, a boiler interface 206 for turning the boiler 102 on and off, and a processor 208 for determining when to turn the boiler 102 on and off based on instructions received from the remote server 110 and/or the thermostat 106. As described above, when the system 100 is operating in normal or online mode the relay 104 determines when to turn the boiler 102 on and off based on instructions received from the remote server 110. Conversely, when the system 100 is operating in oNline mode the relay 104 determines when to turn the boiler 102 on and off based on information (e.g. desired temperature information) received from the thermostat 106.

Typically, before the relay 104 can communicate using the WiFi module 202, the WiFi module 202 must be configured to work with a specific WiFi network. Where the relay 104 is part of a home or office heating and/or cooling system, then the relay 104 is typically configured to use the local WiFi network. Configuring the WiFi module 202 to communicate using a particular WiFi network typically involves providing the WiFi module 202 with the name or SSID (Service Set Identifier) of the WiFi network and any password.

Once the WiFi module 202 has been configured to communicate with the appropriate WiFi network, the relay 104 establishes a connection with the remote server 110 over the Internet and completes an initialization procedure. The initialization procedure typically involves providing the remote server 110 with set-up data which may include, but is not limited to: the email address of owner of the premises in which the boiler 102 is situated, the email address of the engineer responsible for maintaining and servicing the boiler 102, the address of the premises in which the boiler 102 is situated (e.g. street address, town, county, postcode, and country), latitude and longitude of boiler location. Once the initialization procedure is complete, the remote server 110 begins monitoring and controlling the boiler 102 via the relay 104.

In some cases, the relay 104 may be configured to send or push real-time updates to the remote server 110 at regular intervals (e.g. every two minutes). For example, the relay 104 may be configured to use a Comet-style http connection to push updates to the remote server without the remote server having to request the information. In other cases, the relay 104 may be configured to provide real-time updates in response to information requests from the remote server 110.

Once the initialization procedure is complete the user can access the remote server 110 using any internet-enabled computing device to control the operation of the heating and/or cooling system in real time.

In some cases the relay 104 may include a display (not shown) which allows a user to configure the relay 104. In other cases, to reduce the cost of the relay 104, the relay 104 may not have a display to aid in the configuration of the relay 104. In these cases, an external computing device such as a smart phone, a tablet computer, or a standard computer may be used to configure the relay 104. The external computing device will typically be loaded with proprietary software which is used to communicate and configure the relay 104.

For example, the relay 104 may have an audio interface 210, such as a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, which can be used to connect the relay 104 to an audio interface of the external computing device. The relay 104 then communicates with the external computing device via the audio interface 210. Specifically, the relay 104 and the external computing device convert any data to be transmitted to an audio format prior to transmission.

The RF transceiver 204 comprises an RF transmitter and an RF receiver that allows the relay 104 to wirelessly communicate with the thermostat 106. Specifically, the RF transceiver 204 allows the relay 104 to send information to and receive information from the thermostat 106.

Typically, the relay 104 sends information to the thermostat 106 when it receives instructions from the remote server 110. For example, the instructions may include a new desired temperature for the thermostat 106 which is then transmitted to the thermostat 106 using the RF transceiver 204. The RF transceiver 204 may also receive status information from the thermostat 106. For example, the thermostat 106 may provide the relay 104 with the new desired temperature any time the user manually adjusts the desired temperature.

The boiler interface 206 connects the relay 104 to the boiler 102 and enables the relay 104 to turn the boiler on and off. The boiler interface 206 may be any suitable interface known to those in the art.

The processor 208 receives data from the WiFi module 202 (e.g. instructions from the remote server 110) and RF Transceiver 204 (e.g. ambient temperature information and desired temperature information) and based on the received data issues instructions to the boiler interface 206 to turn the boiler 102 on or off. When the system 100 is operating in normal or online mode the processor 208 determines when to turn the boiler 102 on and off based on instructions received from the remote server 110. For example, in normal or online mode, the processor 208 may process the instructions received from the remote server 110 to determine whether the instructions dictate turning the boiler on or off. Conversely, when the system 100 is operating in offline mode the processor 208 determines when to turn the boiler 102 on and off based on information (e.g. ambient and desired temperature information) received from the thermostat 106. For example, when operating in offline mode the processor 208 may be configured to calculate whether to turn on or off the boiler 102 to achieve the desired temperature.

Figure 3 shows a block diagram of an exemplary thermostat 106 of Figure 1. The thermostat 106 is typically positioned in a room, such as a sitting room, that is easily accessible and commonly used. However, it will be evident to a person of skill in the art that the thermostat 106 may be placed in any room of the house or building. The thermostat 106 may be mounted on a wall using a wall fitting. For example, as shown in Figure 3a magnets 320 may be attached to a wall 321. A spacer device 322 may be utilised to hold the magnets 320 at the required spacing while the magnets 320 are attached to the wall, and then the spacer device 322 is removed. The thermostat 106 comprises magnets 323 corresponding to those magnets 320 attached to the wall 321. The thermostat 106 is positioned in the correct location and thereby held to the wall by the magnets 320, 323. The use of a magnetic mounting permits removal of the thermostat as desired. Other mountings may also be utilised as will be appreciated by the skilled person.

In certain embodiments the thermostat 106 may be designed to stand freely on a flat surface, such as a table. The shape and weighting of the thermostat 106 may be utilised to ensure it stands stably in the desired orientation without the need for an external stand, as shown in Figure Sb. A weight 330 may be positioned at a low point to assist balance. The surface on which the thermostat will rest may be provided with a grippy, for example rubber, surface to avoid movement, particularly when a user interacts with the the thermostat.

The thermostat 106 is typically battery operated so that it may be positioned anywhere in the house or building. In some cases the battery or batteries are rechargeable. In these cases the battery or batteries may be charged using a standard capacitive charging mat which negates the need for wires. However, in addition to or alternatively to receiving power from one or more batteries, the thermostat 106 may have the capability of being powered through an AC power supply which uses the voltage from an AC mains supply.

The thermostat 106 of Figure 3 comprises a display module 302 for displaying information to the user, a motion sensor 304 for detecting motion near the thermostat 106, a temperature sensor 306 for sensing the ambient temperature, an input module 308 that allows the user to manually adjust parameters of the system (e.g. desired temperature), an RF transceiver 310 for wirelessly communicating with the relay 104 and the TRVs 108, and a processor 312 for controlling the operation of the thermostat 106.

The display module 302 is used to display information to the user. For example, the display 302 may be configured to show, but is not limited to showing, the current ambient temperature in the room, the desired temperature of the room and the time to achieve the desired temperature if the desired temperature is different than the current temperature.

The display module 302 may also be configured to display a warning if an error condition is detected. For example, the display module 302 may be configured to display a visual warning when the battery is low or if there is no connection between the relay 104 and the remote server 110 (e.g. there is no Internet connection).

The display module 302 may also be configured to display feedback to the user on the users environmental impact or energy savings since using the system. This can be used to encourage the user to continue saving energy by showing them their saving and their impact on the environment. For example, the system may generate an ecoTree that provides graphical feedback as to how environmentally friendly their settings are and by rewarding environmentally friendly behavior with more leaves on the users tree.

The display module 302 may be a standard LCD screen or any other suitable display screen known to those of skill in the art. The display screen may be a touch-sensitive interface, or seperate buttons may be provided.

To conserve power, the display module 302 may be configured to automatically turn off after a predetermined period of inactivity. In these cases the thermostat 106 may also comprise a motion sensor 304 to automatically turn on or illuminate the display module 302 when it senses motion in the vicinity of the thermostat 106. Preferably, the motion sensor 304 will automatically turn on or activate the display module 302 when a user comes in close proximity to the thermostat 106. The motion sensor 304 may be any standard motion sensor known to those of skill in the art.

The temperature sensor 306 senses the ambient temperature of the room in which the thermostat 106 is located. The temperature sensor 306 provides the ambient temperature information to the display module 302 SO it can be displayed. The temperature sensor 306 may also provide the ambient temperature information to the RF transceiver 310 to be transmitted to the relay 104 where the information is sent to the remote server 110. The temperature sensor 306 may be any standard temperature sensor known to those of skill in the art.

The thermostat 106 may also have an input module 308 that allows the user to manually adjust parameters of the system (e.g. the desired temperature). This allows the user to control operation of the boiler 102 even if the Internet connection is down or the relay 104 is otherwise unable to communicate with the remote server 110. For example, the input module 308 may allow the user to manually adjust the desired temperature. Any manual changes of the system parameters (e.g. desired temperature) are typically transmitted to the display module 302 so they can be displayed and to the RF transceiver 310 so they can be transmitted to the relay 104 where the information is sent to the remote server 110. Once a change in system parameters (e.g. desired temperature) is sent to the remote server 110 the remote server 110 typically analyzes the change and sends instructions to the relay 104 to turn the boiler 102 on or off to implement the change in system parameters.

In some cases the input module 308 may be a touch sensitive input device, such as capacitive touch screen or a resistive touch screen that overlays the display module 302. For example, the touch screen may allow the user to increase the desired temperature by sliding their finger from left to right, or reduce the desired temperature by sliding theirfinger from right to left. In other cases the input module 308 may be any other suitable input device, such as a keypad or other buttons, that is known to those of skill in the art.

The RF transceiver 310 comprises an RF transmitter and an RF receiver that allows the thermostat 106 to wirelessly communicate with the relay 104 and the TRVs 108. Typically, the RF transceiver 310 receives data from the relay 104 each time the desried objectives (i.e. desired temperature) are remotely updated on the remote server 110 by the user. The updated information is then typically sent to the display module 302 where it is displayed.

Also, as described above, the RF transceiver 310 may receive information from the input module 308 as soon as any of the system parameters (i.e. desired temperature) have been manually changed by the user via the input module 308 and the RF transceiver 310 transmits this information to the relay 104 where it is transmitted to the remote server 110.

The processor 312 controls the operation of the thermostat 106. In normal or online mode the processor 312 may be configured to send the current ambient temperature information to the relay 104. For example, the processor 312 may be configured to provide the ambient temperature information received from the temperature sensor 306 to the RE Transceiver 310. The relay 104 receives the ambient temperature information and transmits the ambient temperature information to the remote server 110. The remote server 110 then analyzes the ambient temperature information and, if necessary, generates a set of instructions to achieve any desired objectives (e.g. desired temperatures). The instructions are then transmitted to the relay 104.

In normal or online mode the processor 312 may also be configured to send and receive desired temperature information to the relay 104. For example, if the desired temperature is manually updated on thermostat 106, this may be provided to the relay 104 where it is forwarded to the remote server 110. The remote server 110 then analyzes the new desired temperature information and, if necessary, generates a set of instructions to achieve the new desired temperature and transmits those to the relay 104. An updated environmental status may also be sent for display. Similarly, if the desired temperature is updated by the user on the remote server 110, the remote server 110 may send this update (as part of a set of instructions) to the relay 104 who then forwards the update to the thermostat 106.

In offline mode the processor 312 may be configured to send the desired temperature information to both the relay 104 and the TRVs 108. The relay 104 and the TRVs 108 then adjust their operation to achieve the desired temperature.

The processor 312 is typically configured to operate in the normal or online mode when it receives an indication from the relay 104 that the relay 104 is able to communicate with the remote server 110. The processor 312 switches to offline mode when it receives an indication from the relay 104 that the relay 104 is unable to communicate with the remote server 110.

The processor 312 may also be configured to use the data from the temperature sensor 306 (e.g. ambient temperature), the input module 308 (e.g. new desired temperature) and the RF transceiver 310 (e.g. new desired temperature) to calculate the time to achieve the desired temperature. The calculated time may then be provided to the display module 302 where it is displayed to the user.

Figure 4 shows a block diagram of an exemplary TRV 108 of Figure 1. As described above, a TRV 108 may be used to control the temperature in a specific room. Specifically, the TRV 108 is coupled to a radiator 114 and controls the temperature in the room by increasing or decreasing the water flow into the radiator 114.

Figure 4a is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of a TRV 420, showing a closed position (a) and an open position (b). To enable the TRV 108 to be easily positioned on the radiator 114, the TRV 108 is typically battery operated. However, in addition to or alternatively to receiving power from one or more batteries, the TRV 108 may have the capability of being powered through an AC power supply which uses the voltage from an AC mains supply. As shown in Figure 4a the TRV may be provided with a casing that may be opened to facilitate changing of the batteries 421.

The exemplary TRV 108 of Figure 4 comprises a temperature sensor 402 for sensing the ambient temperature in the room, a radiator valve 404 for increasing or decreasing the water flow into the radiator, an RF transceiver 406 for wirelessly communicating with the thermostat 106, an audio alarm module 408 for audibly alerting the user to an alarm condition, a visual alarm module 410 for visually alerting the user to an alarm condition, and a processor 412 for controlling the operation of the TRV 108.

The temperature sensor 402 senses the ambient temperature of the room in which the TRV 108 is located. The ambient temperature information is typically sent to the processor 412 to aid in determining how to adjust the water flow in the radiator to achieve the desired temperature. The ambient temperature information may also be provided to the RF transceiver 406 for transmission to the thermostat 106. In some cases, the temperature sensor 402 may provide the ambient temperature information to the radio transceiver 406 periodically. In other cases, the temperature sensor 402 may only provide the ambient temperature information to the radio transceiver 406 when it receives a request for the ambient temperature information from the remote server 110 via the thermostat 106. The temperature sensor 402 may be any suitable temperature sensor known to those of skill in the art.

The radiator valve 404 is a mechanical value connected to the radiator 114 itself. The radiator valve 404 increases or decreases the water flow into the radiator 114 based on instructions received from the processor 412.

The RF transceiver 406 comprises an RF transmitter and RF receiver which allow the TRV 108 to communicate with the thermostat 106 over RF. In some cases the thermostat 106 and the TRVs 108 communicate in a broadcast fashion. Specifically, each of the TRVs 108 and the thermostat 106 can hear and receive all of the communications transmitted between the TRVs 108 and the thermostat 106. Each device (i.e. TRV 108 and thermostat 106) that is part of the broadcast network has a unique identification number that is used to uniquely identify the device. Any communication that is transmitted to or from a TRV 108 or the thermostat 106 includes the unique identification number of the intended recipient. A particular device (i.e. TRV 108 or thermostat 106) determines whether a particular communication is intended for it by comparing the transmitted unique identification number against its own unique identification number. If the transmitted unique identification number matches the device's own unique identification number then the device processes the communication, otherwise the device ignores the communication.

In an alternative embodiment, the RF transceiver 406 may be replaced by a RF receiver (not shown). In these cases, the TRV 108 will not be able to send data to the thermostat 106, it will only be able to receive information from the thermostat 106.

The TRV 108 may also comprise an audio alarm module 408 that audibly alerts the user to an error condition. For example, the audio alarm module 408 may be configured to emit an audible beep, tone or other sound when it has been detected that the TRV 108 battery power is running low.

The TRV 108 may also comprise a visual alarm module 410 that visually alerts the user to an error condition. For example, the visual alarm module 410 may comprise a simple light that is illuminated when it has been detected that the TRV 108 battery power is running low. The visual alarm module 410 may be in addition to, or instead of, the audio alarm module 408.

The processor 412 receives the ambient temperature information from the temperature sensor 402 and the desired temperature information from the thermostat 106 via the RF transceiver 406 and determines whether the amount of hot water flowing into the radiator should be increased or decreased to achieve the desired temperature. The processor 412 then issues instructions to the radiator valve 404 to increase or decrease the water flowing into the radiator. In some cases, the processor 412 may also control the audio and visual alarm modules 408 and 410. For example, the processor 412 may detect the alarm conditions (e.g. low battery power) and activate the audio and/or visual alarm modules 408 and 410 accordingly. In other cases the audio and/or visual alarm module 408 and 410 may comprise their own means for detecting the alarm condition(s).

In some cases, before a TRV 108 can be used by the system 100 it must be registered with the remote server 110. This typically involves providing the TRV's 108 unique identification number to the remote server 110. This may be done manually by recording the TRy's 108 unique identification number, logging on to the remote server 110 using a computing device, and entering the unique identification number. Alternatively, this may be done automatically.

For example, the TRV 108 may have a near field communication (NFC) module 414 that provides the unique identification number to an NFC-enabled computing device, such as mobile phone, tablet computer, or computer, when the NFC-enabled computing device is brought in close proximity to the TRV 108. Once the unique identification number has been provided to the NFC-enabled computing device, the NFC-enabled computing device can transmit the unique identification number to the remote server 110.

In addition to providing the unique identification number to the remote server 110, the user may be given the option of providing additional information to further identify the TRV 108.

For example, the user may be given the option to tag the TRV 108 with a name, photo and/or room type to aid the user in selecting the correct TRV 108 when controlling the system 100.

Once a TRV 108 has been registered with the remote server 110, the TRV 108 can be used to monitor and control the temperature in the particular room in which it is situated. For example, once a TRV 108 has been registered, the user may be given the option, when accessing the remote server 110, to alter or set the desired temperature in the particular room. Any changes to the desired temperature of a particular room made on the remote server 110 will then be transmitted to the relay 104 via the Internet, the relay 104 will in turn transmit the change to the thermostat 106 via RF, the thermostat 106 will in turn broadcast the change via RF along with the unique identification number of the recipient TRV 108 to all of the TRVs 108. As described above, each TRV 108 RF transceiver 406 receives the communication and compares the received unique identification number against its own unique identification number and if they match it processes the communication, otherwise it ignores the communication. Where a command relates to more than one room multiple identities may be transmitted, or a general' identity may be provided such that all, or certain groups, of TRVs 108 respond.

Figure 5 shows a bock diagram of the remote server 110 of Figure 1. When the system 100 is operating in normal or online mode the remote server 110 controls operation of the heating and/or cooling system (e.g. boiler 102 and radiators 114) based on information received from the relay 104 and information received from the user. Typically, the relay 104 provides the remote server 110 with HVAC status information about the heating and/or cooling system, and the user provides desired objectives (e.g. desired temperatures). The remote sever 110 then uses this information to generate one or more instructions that are sent to the relay 104 to control the operation of the heating and/or cooling system.

In some cases the remote server 110 may also use information about the user that is obtained from non-direct sources (e.g. not directly from the user). For example, in some cases the remote server 110 may use information from a GPS-tracking device to monitor the location of the user. For example, if the remote server 110 detects that the user is at the airport, the remote server 110 may assume that the user is going on a trip and so may lower the temperature in the house or building. The remote server 110 may also utilize third-party Application Programming Interfaces (API) such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to gather information about the user to be able to provide accurate real-time changes to the operation of the heating and/or cooling system (e.g. boiler 102 and radiators 114). In a particular embodiment a calendar system (for example Google Calendar or the iCloud system) may be utilised to determine the user's activities and adjust the system accordingly. For example, the calendar may be used to determine that the user is on holiday or away from home and turn down the temperature accordingly.

The remote server 110 is located remotely from the boiler 102 and the other components of the system 100. By having the remote server 110 located remotely from the boiler 102 the processing power of the remote server 110 can be increased thus allowing more complex analysis and tracking to be performed. Furthermore, distancing the remote sever 110 from the heating and/or cooling system allows updates and other changes may be made more easily to the remote server 110.

The remote server 110 may be implemented as any form of a computing and/or electronic device.

The exemplary remote server 110 of FigureS comprises a communication interface 502 for connecting the remote server 110 to a data network such as the Internet, a web-based portal 504 that allows users to remotely access the remote server 110 via a web browser, a display device 506 that allows the remote server 110 to display data to an administrator, an input device 508 that allows the remote server 110 to be configured or otherwise manipulated by an administrator, memory 510 for storing operating instructions and other data, one or more processors 512, and an I/O controller 514.

The communication interface 502 allows the remote server to connect to a data network such as the Internet. The communication interface 502 may be any suitable communication interface. For example, the communication interface 502 may be a wireless interface, such as a WiFi module, that allows the remote server 110 to connect to a wireless data network, or the communication interface 502 may be a wired interface, such as an Ethernet module, that allows the remote server 100 to connect to a wired data network.

The web-based portal 504 allows users to remotely access the remote server 110 using a web browser. Through this portal the user can monitor and or adjust the operation of their heating and/or cooling system. For example, the web-based portal 504 may provide a web-based interface to users which allow them to visually monitor the operation of their heating and/or cooling system and to adjust the operation of it by changing desired objectives (e.g. the temperature of the house or individual rooms and/or setting a schedule for the house and/or rooms). Since the user access is web-based the user does not typically require any special software to access the remote server. All that is required is a simple web browser, such as Internet Explorer. In addition, since the access is web-based, the user can access the remote server 110 from any computer-based device that has access to the Internet.

The remote server 110 typically comprises one or more processors 512 which may be microprocessors, controllers or any other suitable type of processors for processing computer executable instructions to control the operation of the remote server 110 in order to analyze the HVAC status information received from the relay 104 and desired objectives received from the user. In some examples, for example where a system on a chip architecture is used, the processors may include one or more fixed function blocks (also referred to as accelerators) which implement a pad of the method of in hardware (rather than software or firmware). Platform software comprising an operating system or any other suitable platform software may be provided at the remote server 110 to enable application software to be executed on the device.

The computer executable instructions may be provided using any computer-readable media that is accessible by the remote server 110. Computer-readable media may include, for example, computer storage media such as memory 510 and communications media.

Computer storage media, such as memory, includes volatile and non-volatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data.

Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other non-transmission medium that can be used to store information for access by a computing device. In contrast, communication media may embody computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data in a modulated data signal, such as a carrier wave, or other transport mechanism. As defined herein, computer storage media does not include communication media. Although the computer storage media (memory 510) is shown within the remote server 110 it will be appreciated that the storage may be distributed or located remotely and accessed via a network or other communication link (e.g. using communication interface 502).

The remote server 110 also comprises an input/output controller 514 arranged to output display information to a display device 506 which may be separate from or integral to the remote server 110. The display information may provide a graphical user interface. The input/output controller 514 is also arranged to receive and process input from one or more devices, such as a user input device 508 (e.g. a mouse or a keyboard). This user input may be used to configure the remote server 110 by an administrator. In an embodiment the display device 506 may also act as the user input device 508 if it is a touch sensitive display device.

The input/output controller 514 may also output data to devices other than the display device 506, e.g. a locally connected printing device (not shown in FIG. 5).

Those skilled in the art will realize that storage devices utilized to store program instructions can be distributed across a network. For example, a remote computer may store an example of the process described as software. A local or terminal computer may access the remote computer and download a part or all of the software to run the program. Alternatively, the local computer may download pieces of the software as needed, or execute some software instructions at the local terminal and some at the remote computer (or computer network).

Those skilled in the art will also realize that by utilizing conventional techniques known to those skilled in the art that all, or a portion of the software instructions may be carried out by a dedicated circuit, such as a DSP, programmable logic array, or the like.

In some embodiments, the system devices (e.g. relay 104, thermostat 106 and TRVs 108) may also be configured to collect diagnostic information about the device itself (e.g. relay 104, thermostat 106 and TRVs 108) and the devices (e.g. boiler 102, radiator 114) they are connected to. For example, in some cases the boiler 102 may be configured to actively notify the relay 104 of any error conditions that it senses. In other cases the relay 104 may be configured to periodically probe the boiler 102 for error and/or status information. This diagnostic information may then be provided to the remote server 110 in real time via the relay 104. The remote server 110 may then analyze the received diagnostic information and notify the user and/or the engineer if a problem is detected. The remote server 110 may also offer the engineer a method or means to acquire spare parts, if required.

Figure 6 is a flowchart of a method 600 for controlling a central heating and/or cooling system using the system 100 of Figure 1 when the system 100 is operating in normal or online mode.

As described above, the system 100 operates in online or normal mode when the relay 104 is able to communicate with the remote server 110. In this mode the remote server 110 controls the operation of the heating and/or cooling system.

The method 600 begins at step 602 where the relay 104 is configured to use the local WiFi network to communicate with the remote server 110. As described above, configuring the relay 104 to use the local WiFi network typically comprises providing the local WiFi network name or SSID and any password. Where the relay 104 has a screen and/or input device, the user may configure the relay 104 by entering the information directly into the relay 104. The thermostat 106 may also be utilised to configured the relay via the wireless connection.

Where, however, the relay does not comprise a screen and/or an input module, the relay 104 may be configured by connecting an external computing device to the relay 104 and using the external computing device to configure the relay 104. In some cases the external computing device may be connected to the relay 104 via an audio interface. Once the relay 104 has been configured to use the local WiFi network the method 600 proceeds to step 604.

At step 604, the relay 104 completes an initialization procedure with the remote server 110.

The initialization procedure typically involves providing the remote server 110 with set-up data which may include, but is not limited to: the email address of owner of the premises in which the boiler is situated, the email address of the engineer responsible for maintaining and servicing the boiler 102, the address of the premises in which the boiler is situated (i.e. street address, town, county, postcode, and country), latitude and longitude of boiler location. Once the initialization procedure has been completed the method 600 proceeds to step 606.

At step 606, the relay 104 sends HVAC status information to the remote server 110. The HVAC status information typically includes the thermostat 106 ambient temperature reading and the TRV 108 ambient temperature readings (if available). The HVAC status information may also include the desired temperature of the thermostat 106. Once the relay 104 has sent the HVAC status information to the remote server 110 the method 600 proceeds to steps 608 and 612.

At step 608, the remote server 110 uses the HVAC status information provided by the relay 104 and any desired objectives provided to the remote server 110 by the user and determines what actions, if any, are required to achieve the desired objectives. The desired objectives provided by the user may, for example, include a detailed schedule of the desired temperature of each of the rooms of the house or building. The desired objectives may be provided by the user in advance. For example, the user may provide the remote server 110 with a schedule that is to be used for the next week. Alternatively the desired objectives may be provided on-the-fly. If the remote server 110 determines that one or more actions are required to achieve the desired objectives then the remote server 110 generates a set of instructions which are transmitted to the relay 104. The set of instructions may include a specific instruction to the relay 104 to turn the boiler on or off and/or a specific instruction to set the desired temperature of one or more TRVs to a specific temperature. Once the remote server 110 has analyzed the data and transmitted a set of instructions to the relay 104, the method 600 proceeds to steps 610 and 614.

At step 610, the relay 104 receives and processes the set of instructions generated by the remote server 110. Processing the set of instructions may comprise the relay 104 processor 208 analyzing the instructions to determine if any of the instructions apply to the relay 104 itself and if any of the instructions apply to the TRVs 108. If any of the instructions apply to the relay 104 (e.g. instructions to turn the boiler on or off) then the relay 104 may take action to implement the instructions. For example, the relay 104 processor 208 may issue instructions to the boiler interface 206 to turn the boiler 102 on or off.

If any of the instructions apply to the TRVs 108 (e.g. instructions to change the desired temperature) then the relay 104 forwards those instructions to the TRVs 108. For example, the relay 104 processor 208 may forward the TRV instructions to the relay 104 RF transceiver 204 for transmission to the thermostat 106. The thermostat 106 RF transceiver 310 receives the instructions from the relay 104 and then rebroadcasts them to the TRVs 108. The TRVs 108 receive the broadcast using their RF transceiver 406 and analyze the broadcast to determine if it is intended for them. If a particular TRV 108 determines that the instruction is intended for it, the TRV 108 processes the instructions. For example, the transceiver 406 may provide the instructions to the TRV 108 processor 412 and the processor 412 will determine whether any action needs to be taken to achieve the new desired temperature. For example, the processor 412 may determine whether the water flow into the radiator 114 needs to be increased or decreased. If any action is required, the processor 412 may issue instructions to the radiator valve 404 to increase or decrease the flow of water into the radiator 114.

At step 612, the relay 104 monitors whether it has received any new system parameter information (e.g. updated desired temperature settings) from the thermostat 106. If new system parameter information (e.g. updated desired temperature settings) are received by the thermostat 106 then the method proceeds back to step 606 where the HVAC status information, comprising the updated desired temperature setting, is sent to the remote server 110.

At step 614, the remote server 110 monitors whether it has received any new desired objectives (e.g. new temperature setting for a particular room) from the user. If new desired objectives are received from the user, then the method 600 proceeds back to step 608 where the remote server 110 analyzes the HVAC status information and the desired objectives and generates and transmits a set of instructions.

Figure 7 is a flowchart of a method 700 for controlling a heating and/or cooling system using the system 100 of Figure 1 when the system 100 is operating in offline mode. Method 700 begins at step 702 where the relay 104 detects that it is unable to communicate with the remote server 110. The relay 104 may detect that it is unable to communicate with the remote server 110 when it does not receive any communications from the remote server 110 after a predetermined amount of time. For example, the remote server 110 may be configured to send communications to the relay 104 on a periodic basis. The inability of the relay to communicate with the remote server 110 may, for example, be because the relay 104 is unable to communicate with the local WiFi router 112 or because the local WiFi router 112 or the remote server 110 has lost its Internet connection. Regardless of the cause, if the relay 104 and the remote server 110 are unable to communicate, the server 110 will be unable to effectively control the heating and/or cooling system. Once the relay 104 has detected that it is unable to communicate with the remote server 110 the method 700 proceeds to step 704.

At step 704, the relay 104 notifies the thermostat 106 that it is unable to communicate with the remote server 110. For example, the relay 104 may use its RF transceiver 204 to transmit a notification or warning message to the RF transceiver 310 of the thermostat 106. Once the relay 104 has notified the thermostat 106 that it is unable to communicate with the remote server 110 the method 700 proceeds to step 706.

At step 706, upon receiving the notification or warning message from the relay 104 the thermostat 106 alerts the user to the error condition. For example, the thermostat 106 may display a warning on the display module 302 that the relay 104 is unable to communicate with the remote server 110. The warning may comprise one or more icons, text or any combination of icons and text. Once the thermostat 106 has alerted the user to the error condition the method 700 proceeds to step 708.

At step 708, the thermostat 106 provides the ambient and desired temperature information to the relay 104 so that the relay 104 can control the boiler 102 (e.g. turn the boiler on or off) to achieve the desired temperature. Since the relay 104 is unable to communicate with the remote server 110, the thermostat 106 becomes the only means for adjusting the temperature in the house or building. Once the thermostat 106 has provided the ambient and desired temperature information to the relay 104, the method 700 proceeds to steps 710 and 712.

At step 710, upon receiving the ambient and desired temperature information from the thermostat 106 the relay 104 adjusts operation of the boiler 102 to achieve the desired temperature. For example, the RF transceiver 204 of the relay 104 may provide the ambient and desired temperature information to the processor 208 of the relay 104 which determines whether the boiler 102 should be turned on or off to achieve the desired temperature. The processor 208 then issues instructions to the boiler interface 206 to turn the boiler 102 on or off.

At step 712, the thermostat 106 provides its desired temperature information to all of the TRVs 108. For example, the desired temperature information may be provided to the thermostat's RF transceiver 310 to be transmitted to each of the TRVs 108. If the TRVs 108 and the thermostat 106 are configured to operate in the broadcast mode described above, the RF transceiver 310 may transmit the desired temperature information multiple times, one for each TRV 108. Each transmission would include the unique identification number of a particular TRV 108. In this manner the thermostat 106 becomes the central temperature control for the entire house or building and all of the rooms in the house or building become set to the same temperature. In an alternative embodiment a message may be provided that causes all TRVs 108, or groups thereof, to respond to one message, thereby removing the need for repitiion for each TRV 108. Once the thermostat 106 has transmitted its desired temperature information to all of the TRVs 108, the method 700 proceeds to steps 714 and 716.

At step 714, each TRV 108 receives the desired temperature information and makes any necessary change to their corresponding radiator 114 to achieve the desired temperature.

For example, the RF transceiver 406 of the TRV 108 may receive the desired temperature information from the thermostat 106, the RF transceiver 406 may then provide the received desired temperature information to the processor 412, the processor 412 may then use the current ambient temperature received from the temperature sensor 402 to determine whether the flow of water into the boiler should be increased or decreased to achieve the new desired temperature, the processor 412 may then issue instructions to the radiator valve 404 to increase or decrease the flow of water into the radiator 114.

At step 716, the thermostat 106 monitors its input module 308 to determine if the user has made any changes to the desired temperature. If no changes have been made to the desired temperature, then the thermostat 106 continues to monitor the input module 308. If changes have been made to the desired temperature, then steps 708 and 712 are repeated.

Specifically, the thermostat 106 provides the new desired temperature to the relay 104 and the TRVs 108.

It will be evident to a person of skill in the art that steps 706, 708 and 712 may be performed in any order or may be performed simultaneously.

The remote server 110 may also independently detect that it is not able to communicate with the relay 104. The remote server 110 may detect that it is unable to communicate with the relay 104 after it does not receive any communications from the relay 104 over a predetermined period. For example, the relay 104 may be configured to send communications to the remote server 110 on a periodic basis. If the remote server 110 has detected that it is not able to communicate with the relay 104 and it is connected to the Internet it may send an email or other communication to the owner and/or engineer to notify them of the error condition.

Any range or device value given herein may be extended or altered without losing the effect sought, as will be apparent to the skilled person.

It will be understood that the benefits and advantages described above may relate to one embodiment or may relate to several embodiments. The embodiments are not limited to those that solve any or all of the stated problems or those that have any or all of the stated benefits and advantages.

Any reference to an item refers to one or more of those items. The term comprising' is used herein to mean including the method blocks or elements identified, but that such blocks or elements do not comprise an exclusive list and a method or apparatus may contain additional blocks or elements.

The steps of the methods described herein may be carried out in any suitable order, or simultaneously where appropriate. Additionally, individual blocks may be deleted from any of the methods without departing from the spirit and scope of the subject matter described herein. Aspects of any of the examples described above may be combined with aspects of any of the other examples described to form further examples without losing the effect sought.

It will be understood that the above description of a preferred embodiment is given by way of example only and that various modifications may be made by those skilled in the art.

Although various embodiments have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, or with reference to one or more individual embodiments, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed embodiments without departing from the spirit or scope of this invention.

Claims (15)

  1. Claims 1. A system to control a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, comprising: a relay coupled to the HVAC system, the relay configured to control operation of the HVAC system; a thermostat in wireless communication with the relay, the thermostat configured to determine the ambient temperature and wirelessly transmit the ambient temperature to the relay; and a server located remotely from the HVAC system, the server configured to receive HVAC status information from the relay and to generate one or more instructions based on the HVAC status information, the HVAC status information comprising the ambient temperature; wherein the relay is configured to control operation of the HVAC system based on the one or more instructions generated by the server.
  2. 2. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 1, wherein the HVAC system comprises a boiler and the relay is configured to control operation of the HVAC by turning the boiler on or off based on the one or more instructions generated by the server.
  3. 3. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the HVAC system comprises one or more radiators and the control system further comprises one or more thermostatic radiator valves (TRy), wherein each TRV is coupled to one of the one or more radiators and is configured to control the operation of the corresponding radiator.
  4. 4. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 3, wherein each TRV is in wireless communication with the thermostat and controls the operation of the corresponding radiator based on TRV control information received from the thermostat.
  5. 5. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 4, wherein the one or more instructions generated by the server comprise a desired temperature setting for one or more TRVs, and the TRV control information comprises the desired temperature setting.
  6. 6. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 4 or claim 5, wherein the thermostat wirelessly communicates with the one or more TRVs using a broadcast protocol.
  7. 7. A system to control a HVAC system according to any one of claims 3 to 6, wherein each TRV is configured to control the operation of the corresponding radiator by increasing or decreasing the amount of water flowing into the radiator.
  8. 8. A system to control a HVAC system according to any preceding claim, wherein the server is configured to generate one or more instructions in response to receiving the HVAC status information by analyzing the HVAC status information and desired objectives provided by the user.
  9. 9. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 8, wherein the server comprises a web portal that allows users to provide the desired objectives to the server.
  10. 10. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 8 or claim 9, wherein the desired objectives comprise at least one desired temperature value, wherein the desired temperature value relates to one of a house, a building, and a room.
  11. 11. A system to control a HVAC system according to claim 10, wherein the at least one temperature value is associated with one of a time, time range, date, and date range.
  12. 12. A system to control a HVAC system according to any one of claims 8 to 11, wherein the server is configured to generate one or more instructions in response to receiving the HVAC status information by analyzing the HVAC status information, desired objectives provided by the user and non-direct information obtained about the user.
  13. 13. A system to control a HVAC system according to any preceding claim, wherein the thermostat is further configured to receive desired temperature information from a user and transmit the desired temperature information to the relay, wherein the HVAC status information further comprises the desired temperature information.
  14. 14. A system to control a HVAC system according to any preceding claim wherein the relay is configured to communicate with the server using a first wireless protocol and to communicate with the thermostat using a second wireless protocol.
  15. 15. A method to control a heating, ventilation and air-condition (HVAC) system, the method comprising: detecting the ambient temperature using a thermostat; wirelessly transmitting the ambient temperature from the thermostat to a relay coupled to the HVAC system; transmitting HVAC status information from the relay to a remote server, the HVAC status information comprising the ambient temperature; analyzing at the remote server the HVAC status information and desired objectives provided by a user; generating at the remote server one or more instructions based on the analysis; transmitting the one or more instructions from the remote server to the relay; and processing at the relay the one or more instructions to control the operation of the HVAC system.
GB1207884.6A 2012-05-04 2012-05-04 Apparatus to control a central heating system using a remote server Withdrawn GB2501765A (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB1207884.6A GB2501765A (en) 2012-05-04 2012-05-04 Apparatus to control a central heating system using a remote server

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB1207884.6A GB2501765A (en) 2012-05-04 2012-05-04 Apparatus to control a central heating system using a remote server

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB201207884D0 GB201207884D0 (en) 2012-06-20
GB2501765A true GB2501765A (en) 2013-11-06

Family

ID=46396558

Family Applications (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB1207884.6A Withdrawn GB2501765A (en) 2012-05-04 2012-05-04 Apparatus to control a central heating system using a remote server

Country Status (1)

Country Link
GB (1) GB2501765A (en)

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2519986A (en) * 2013-11-04 2015-05-13 Ideal Boilers Ltd Wireless boiler control system
EP2921926A1 (en) * 2014-03-16 2015-09-23 Eeko Automation Oy Control system and method
NL2014942A (en) * 2015-06-09 2016-12-12 Greensoter B V Heating system for a building with multiple rooms.
EP3339753A1 (en) * 2016-12-22 2018-06-27 Netatmo System and method for enforcing a manual temperature setpoint within a smart thermal management system
GB2560762A (en) * 2017-03-24 2018-09-26 Thermix Uk Ltd Wireless plinth heater

Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090057426A1 (en) * 2007-08-27 2009-03-05 Honeywell International Inc. Remote hvac control wtih universal engineering tool
US20090099699A1 (en) * 2007-08-03 2009-04-16 John Douglas Steinberg System and method for using a network of thermostats as tool to verify peak demand reduction
US20090194601A1 (en) * 2007-03-01 2009-08-06 Sequentric Energy Systems, Llc Wireless interface circuits for wired thermostats and electrical service demand management
US8374725B1 (en) * 2007-11-27 2013-02-12 Joseph David Ols Climate control

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US20090194601A1 (en) * 2007-03-01 2009-08-06 Sequentric Energy Systems, Llc Wireless interface circuits for wired thermostats and electrical service demand management
US20090099699A1 (en) * 2007-08-03 2009-04-16 John Douglas Steinberg System and method for using a network of thermostats as tool to verify peak demand reduction
US20090057426A1 (en) * 2007-08-27 2009-03-05 Honeywell International Inc. Remote hvac control wtih universal engineering tool
US8374725B1 (en) * 2007-11-27 2013-02-12 Joseph David Ols Climate control

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2519986A (en) * 2013-11-04 2015-05-13 Ideal Boilers Ltd Wireless boiler control system
EP2921926A1 (en) * 2014-03-16 2015-09-23 Eeko Automation Oy Control system and method
NL2014942A (en) * 2015-06-09 2016-12-12 Greensoter B V Heating system for a building with multiple rooms.
EP3339753A1 (en) * 2016-12-22 2018-06-27 Netatmo System and method for enforcing a manual temperature setpoint within a smart thermal management system
GB2560762A (en) * 2017-03-24 2018-09-26 Thermix Uk Ltd Wireless plinth heater

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
GB201207884D0 (en) 2012-06-20

Similar Documents

Publication Publication Date Title
EP2989531B1 (en) Method of interfacing with a user of an hvac system, and portable electronic device and computer-readable media for performing said method
US9851728B2 (en) Inhibiting deleterious control coupling in an enclosure having multiple HVAC regions
US8712590B2 (en) System and method for optimizing use of plug-in air conditioners and portable heaters
JP6543282B2 (en) Method for managing a networked thermostat
US8306634B2 (en) Adaptive and user location-based power saving system
CN105247290B (en) Automatic adjustment of resource-saving scheduling hvac
US9791839B2 (en) User-relocatable self-learning environmental control device capable of adapting previous learnings to current location in controlled environment
US9857234B2 (en) Remote monitoring system
US20070114295A1 (en) Wireless thermostat
US20130052946A1 (en) Home automation using a mobile device
US20160261425A1 (en) Methods and apparatus for using smart environment devices via application program interfaces
EP1470456B1 (en) Building control system and fume hood system for use therein having reduced wiring requirements
US8063775B2 (en) Energy management system
US9547980B2 (en) Smart gateway, smart home system and smart controlling method thereof
US20140180968A1 (en) Method and apparatus for managing energy consumption in a home network system
US20100127880A1 (en) Remote monitoring system
US20040144849A1 (en) Building control system using integrated MEMS devices
US8099194B2 (en) Demand control
US9189946B2 (en) Smart hazard detector providing follow up communications to detection events
US9286781B2 (en) Dynamic distributed-sensor thermostat network for forecasting external events using smart-home devices
US20140031991A1 (en) Method of associating an hvac controller with an external web service
US8855793B2 (en) System for learning equipment schedules
US9568201B2 (en) Environmental control system retrofittable with multiple types of boiler-based heating systems
US10095207B2 (en) System and method of energy management control
US9535411B2 (en) Cloud enabled building automation system

Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
WAP Application withdrawn, taken to be withdrawn or refused ** after publication under section 16(1)