Save energy, time, and money without breaking a sweat…

My name is Tom Lawson. I’m a semi-retired software engineer with a passion for home automation and saving energy.

I’ve developed a variety of energy saving techniques such as anticipating heating or cooling needs based on weather predictions and meeting those needs by strategically controlling whole house fans and windows.  I also have integrated solutions for saving energy with attic fans, ceiling fans, window coverings, garage fans, and basement fans. Occupancy is accurately determined based on my algorithm that uses door and motion sensor data.

What sets my applications apart from other energy saving techniques is that  you actually gain comfort while saving energy. A typical house during a heat wave will spend most of the day at or near the cooling set point, e.g. 78 degree F. But with my application, Climate Control Guru, night venting allows your house to get as low as your heating set point, e.g. 68 degrees F, and then spend most of the day somewhere in the middle. Friends always comment that my house is always so cool during the summer. They are always surprised when I tell them that I rarely ever have to run my air conditioner.

I live in Northern California where daily temperature swings are relatively high, but even in fairly humid climates where temperature swings are smaller, similar results can be achieved by adding an inside humidity sensor  to the mix.

I take saving energy very seriously. My house has LED lighting, on-demand water heaters, and solar panels. I use my own applications to control a whole house fan, ceiling fan, attic fan, a garage fan, skylight, and thermostat. These Lawson Automation applications are a logical extension of what I consider to be an important part of saving money and helping to protect the earth.

Read more about my applications in the products section or more about me on LinkedIn. You can support my development effort by purchasing your home automation devices using my Amazon Associates links here.  Be sure to note which features existing or desired matter most to you.

All the Best!

Tom Lawson

How does Day and Night Venting Work?

I’m a big fan of cooling my house via night venting (OK, pun intended). The rush of cool night air can make sleeping so much more comfortable at a cost 10 to 20 times cheaper than AC.

Conversely, there are times I’ve come home to a chilly house and thought to myself, It’s warmer outside than inside! I might even open up the windows to take advantage of this if I weren’t so lazy.

This is why I have been working for years to automate these processes. My actual results are shown below.

Baseline, No Heating or Cooling

This graph shows a time when no heating or cooling of any kind was applied. All systems were off. Note that the inside temperature remains between 69 and 74 degrees F, and inside average and outside average are roughly the same.

Cooling with a Whole House Fan

This graph shows cooling using only night venting. No AC was used. Note the rapid drop in slop of the inside temperature line as cool outside air is introduced. Even though outside average temperatures hover around 80 degrees F, the inside average remains around 74 Degrees F, roughly 6 degrees lower.

Heating with a Whole House Fan

This graphic shows heating using only ventilation. No heater was used. Note the steep incline of the inside temperature when warm outside air is introduced. Average inside temperature was maintained around 5 degrees F above outside average.

The Big Picture

By knowing when and how much to heat and cool via ventilation, significant energy savings can be achieved during those times when daily outside temperature fluctuations intersect with the inside target range.  A 2004 California Energy Commission report concluded that a typical 2000 sq ft California home could save $450 a year using a ventilation controller though cooling savings alone. Because the initial and ongoing costs of this system are low, it can easily pay for itself in short order.