Decreasing energy usage in the Warwick Arms


Josh Milkins and myself have used this brief to challenge ourselves to increase sustainability in a pub/restaurant environment. Our intention is using Arduino software and hardware to create an interactive service which will allow an easy and quick method to use alternative lighting or to turn off lighting in unoccupied areas of the pub during daylight hours.

Our aim is to do so without interrupting the experience of the patrons or upset the ambiance through the use of an Amazon Alexa to communicate with a wifi enabled MCU.

Initial Research

In order to check the viability of the project we realized we needed to do two things.

  1. Visit the pub to check UI, UX with their lighting.
  2. Calculate current energy used and determine the viability of our project.

We visited the Warwick Arms to look at user interaction and the user experience to establish if we could change the way they used their lighting so that it might save energy increasing the sustainability of the place, we found that by using Ambient/wall lighting which use LED lighting instead of the ceiling lights we wouldn’t compromise of the user experience and by implementing an easy to use voice system it would create no inconvenience for staff/ management to run it..

We also wanted to develop a floor plan and determine how much energy they were currently using. Shown below:

Floor plan
Floor Plan
Energy use per day

A large amount of energy is being used each day which simply isn’t sustainable. Therefore we determined the need for our project, it was then required for us to figure out how much energy could be saved and whether or not the idea would be worth it.

To do this we adjusted the hours to what would have been realistic expectations having explained to the manager what we had planned. Below is the adjusted run times of the lighting of the pub with our idea being implemented in the pub:


Alexa and wireless functionality.

In this project we are using Alexa (A voice interaction smart device) to allows us to interact and control different areas with different lighting. In order to do this we decided to emulate WeMo which is a product from Belkin that allows you to use Wifi to control home electronics. It is plugged into a home outlet, which can then be controlled from an app and we will be using this to interact with Alexa and lighting.

Initially we used a NoceMcu Lua V3 wifi enabled micro controller unit to integrate an amazon alexa to rurn on and off an LED shown in this youtube video:

Using this code here – Controlling a single device code

Then in order to implement this into the Warwick Arms pub we would have to allow the control of multiple different lighting sections and have control over the different lights used.

In order to control multiple lights in a pub lighting environment we would need to be able to control mains power from arduino and also control multiple systems. To do this we decided to use an 8 channel relay.

Since we were having trouble with the wifi module as well we decided to upgrade to the ESP8266 wifi module to the channel relays since we didn’t really want to mess with mains power and get electrocuted we decided to power the circuit with a 5V battery and below is the fritzing diagram of what we got:

Home Automation Alexa NodeMCU_bb

However we found hat because the MCU took a 5V USB power source and regulated it to a 3.3V on board we couldn’t use the VCC pin to power the relay module which required 5V. So in order to use it we would have to  use a bi-directional logic level converter which is a small device that safely steps down 5V signals to 3.3V and also steps up 3.3V to 5V at the same time. The module we got is a sparkfun module which has the capability of converting 4 pins on the high side to 4 pins on the low side with two inputs and two outputs provided for each side.

The final circuit for this project is below:


With a fritzing here:







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s