Green Power FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Green Power Technology

What is Green Power?

Green Power is a feature of Zigbee that allows for energy-harvesting technology to be used directly with the Zigbee stack. Green Power allows for additional nodes/devices to be added to a network that are virtually maintenance-free.

How is Green Power different from Zigbee?

Green Power combines the energy harvesting capabilities with ultra-low-power RF silicon that uses many orders of magnitude less power than required for a sleepy or fully networked wireless connection. It is an open, global, standard-based network technology that saves even more energy by reducing packet length, round-trips, connection rediscovery, and on network time for devices that may be offline for extended periods of time. It supports compressed messages and limited transactions. With these features, Green Power devices often don’t need batteries and can perform almost indefinitely.

Does Green Power have its own logo/brand?

Yes, it does. It’s officially Green Power by the Connectivity Standards Alliance. Certified Green Power Device (GPD) use this logo and certified Green Power Combo (GPC) devices use this logo in addition to their Zigbee logo.

How does Green Power work?

Devices are powered via energy harvesting at their installed location, harnessing energy from everyday activities to power the device through its entire life-cycle, eliminating the need for batteries. Green Power is capable of managing both ‘bursting energy harvesters’ and ‘trickling energy harvesters’ (while devices are intermittently on and off the network):

  • Bursting energy harvesters:
    • Piezoelectric, dynamo/electro-mechanic, vibrators
    • Generate large amount of energy in very short time
    • Storage device to convert energy into usable form
  • Trickling energy harvesters
    • Solar cells, Peltier elements
    • Expend little energy over long time period
    • Storage device to collect energy over longer time

What are the main features of Green Power?

Energy Harvesting: The energy from dropping a needle to the ground, by cooling a drop of sweat, or a single LED flash is sufficient to transmit several radio messages. Likewise, a solar cell the size of your fingertip can provide enough energy to transmit a radio message every minute when exposed to indoor light – light you can’t even read by. Harvesting energy from local sources like heat, kinetic or light allows the sensors and actuators for automation systems to go where they are needed without wires, batteries or costly installation.

Ultra-low-power silicon: Low-power silicon means that Green Power devices can operate at their full capacity using the device’s energy harvesting capabilities; providing complete, battery-less solutions that are low-maintenance, low-power, and low environment impact.

Reliability: The Zigbee mesh network standard runs over IEEE 802.15.4, and Green Power has been part of Zigbee for more than 10 years. The Zigbee Green Power protocol defines compressed, secure, and highly optimized message traffic for ultra-low-power devices. It allows these devices to send messages, in a reliable way, to destinations in the mesh network that may be well beyond the range of these ultra-low power devices. The Zigbee network is always on, and can receive and forward Zigbee Green Power messages at any time.

Mature and Sustainable: A global wireless standard; using one world-wide RF band and proven, ultra-low power mesh technology, Green Power can be used to create stable wireless networks that power themselves, reducing battery waste and drawing little additional power.

What markets does Green Power serve?

Green Power is utilized across residential, commercial and utility markets.

Green Power delivers a battery-less experience that allows Green Power devices can be placed anywhere, without the need to change batteries, drill holes, or run cables.

Residential: Green Power adds convenience to the smart home by allowing residents to use long lasting devices with no need to replace batteries. Kinetically powered switch sensors can be integrated directly into products, like light switches, doors, windows etc. These devices generate energy solely from the user’s normal, everyday hand movements of pressing a button, opening something, or rotating a handle – and they work for the entire lifetime of the product. The sensors also generate their energy only from sunlight or ambient light while eliminating the need for a back-up battery.

Commercial: Green Power shines in commercial installations by allowing for a wireless & battery-less installation that means ultimate flexibility in an adaptive environment. Green Power helps reduce switching costs and upkeep of an installation. In the industrial space, on assembly line fabrication machines, vibration, movement and other factors make wiring difficult and costly. Being able to place a wireless button in an effective location for the operator of the machine, is important, especially when safety is critical – thus, the case for a completely electro-kinetic industrial switch that you can place anywhere.

Utility: Green Power reduces cost in the utility space by harvesting energy in smart breakers. By harvesting the energy flowing through a smart breaker, Green Power isolates the breaker logic, takes less space, and is less costly to produce. Smart circuit breakers monitor energy use and can detect uncharacteristic consumption which can prevent equipment failure and reduce cost.

Is Green Power compatible with Zigbee 3.0 devices?

Yes, Green Power is compatible with any Zigbee 3.0 device, but not all Zigbee 3.0 products are certified as Green Power Combo.

Can a Green Power device work without an internet connection?

Yes, Zigbee devices do not rely on internet connections to function. Local control is always possible even if your internet connection is temporarily unavailable. At home, your Zigbee Green Power switches can still directly control your shades and lights, even if the internet is gone, or the gateway is offline for whatever reason.

What is battery-less technology?

Ultra-low power RF silicon uses many orders of magnitude less power for devices in locations where battery replacements in not an option and the mesh network saves even more energy by reducing packet length, round-trips, connecting rediscovery, and on-network time for devices that may be offline for extended periods of time.

Is Green Power secure?

Where wireless mesh nodes are typically equipped with at least 256K bytes of program and 16K bytes of data, a Zigbee Green Power device typically needs less than 32K for the program and 1K for data. Because Zigbee Green Power devices are not directly exposed to the wider internet, they are inherently protected against some of the more challenging internet security concerns, including Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. Even one-way simplex devices are secure with a random factory security key. Bi-directional devices are able to store a generated key from the network, that is different from the network key, thus adding another layer of security for the application.

What are the benefits of Green Power?

Green Power is a green technology that deliver many benefits to the end users in residential, commercial and utility markets, including:

Completely battery-less operation which does not require any battery maintenance, contributing to the eco-friendly factor of this technology, considering the amount of battery waste and cost associated with its proper disposal.

For residential and commercial applications a switch or another Green Power device can be installed in any location without drilling holes, running cables, or replacing batteries in often hard-to-reach locations.

This is also true in industrial automation, where it’s time consuming and costly to run cables, Green Power harvesting switches provide a battery-less, cost-effect option to traditional cable-based ones.