A unique autonomous control system was developed to manage the HVAC components of a residence built specifically for an ultra-efficient home competition. Some of the home’s HVAC components that contribute to its ultra-efficiency (and necessitate such an autonomous controller) include multiple ductless mini-split heat pumps, multiple hydronic heated floor loops, multiple circulating ceiling fans, and a closed-loop solar thermal collection and storage system that not only provides hot water to the hydronic heated floors, but also supplies the home with domestic hot water.

The autonomous controller integrates all this equipment with a mixture of technology that includes power-line communications, both wired and wireless TCP/IP network signals, low-voltage wiring, and infrared signals. By utilizing these many different methods to communicate with equipment around the home, the controller is able to simultaneously regulate components and systems that are often considered “stand alone” or impractical to implement in residential buildings due to their need for constant manual operation. The result is an HVAC system that consumes very little energy while still providing an expected level of comfort.

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