Credit: Jupiter Images

Thanks to developers of Victoria’s Dockside Green, local manufacturers have produced a thermostat-type device that not only controls the temperature of a home or office, but tracks the unit’s entire carbon footprint.

The device, dubbed the Mach-Stet, is currently being installed at Synergy, which will be Dockside Green’s first completed building when residents move in in early 2008.

The Mach-Stet will be hooked up to each suite’s hydro and water meters, and to the hot water tank and heat fan. It will calculate energy consumption and related greenhouse-gas emissions, then roll all the data into one number, providing a measure of each suite’s total carbon footprint. The numbers can be compared from day to day, week to week, or month to month.

(The Mach-Stet is not to be confused with the “smart meters” recently mandated by Premier Gordon Campbell, which only measure electricity consumption.)

All of the data is accessible not only on the screen of the Mach-Stet controller, but on any computer via the Internet.

Residents will be able to monitor their suites’ energy and water consumption and resulting carbon footprint in real time from anywhere in the world.

The innovative device is manufactured by Victoria-based Reliable Controls Corp., and was customized for Dockside Green by Houle Controls in Victoria. The user-friendly graphics were developed by Syscor Research & Development, also in Victoria.

Don’t expect to see the Mach-Stet on sale at your local hardware store anytime soon. According to Joe LeRoy, control divisions manager at Houle Controls, a development the size of Dockside Green offers an economy of scale not available in stand-alone homes. Installation in a single house or condo would introduce a whole new set of complications, he explains.

That’s not to say a custom-built Mach-Stet is out of the question; LeRoy welcomes inquiries. But for now, he expects to see Mach-Stets going into new developments.