Australian company Milieu Labs has launched a new smart air conditioning controller that it says offers homeowners and businesses “unprecedented control” over their environments. The units have also won various awards, including a Best In Class Good Design Award.
Milieu Labs founder Kevin Mundy says that after designing and working on different Australian air conditioning systems, he was inspired to develop a new type of smart home air conditioning controller that was aesthetically sleek and exciting to use.
“Air conditioning controllers typically control up to 50 per cent of a home or office’s energy use,” says Mundy. “This is a lot of energy consumption being controlled by a single device.”
Mundy says AC controllers were typically hard to set or program, didn’t maintain consistent comfort levels, could not be controlled from a smartphone, and gave no insights into the quality of the air and environment in a home.
With the goal of designing a better controller, Milieu Labs was formed in March 2020. It has now launched its first patented product, the Milieu Climate Smart Thermostat.
Engineered in Australia, the controller has been designed for a broad range of heating and cooling systems. This includes ducted reverse-cycle systems, ducted gas heating, ducted gas heating with add-on cooling, VRF and multi-head systems.
“Achieving such a broad range of compatibility was a challenge as there’s no standard interface for all AC brands out there,” Mundy says. “Australia isn’t like the US where most of the systems all use the standard 24vac control system. Australia does have 24vac systems, but most brands have their own proprietary control system, so you need a different solution for each brand.”
Mundy says that after years of design, testing and development, this gap has now been bridged.
The unit comes with the Milieu Climate mobile app, allowing users to control up to eight properties with up to eight air conditioners per property for a total of 64 systems. Milieu Climate also works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa for voice commands.
When bad air quality is detected – such as a high concentration of VOCs or CO2 – the indoor fan can automatically turn on to start filtering or increasing ventilation.
The company says it is planning more updates in the coming months and will be exhibiting at ARBS 2022.