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Top 10 Home Energy-Saving Technologies

By Wellhome

Do you really know how much you are spending on energy in your home? You might know how much you are paying every month for your household energy, but you probably have no idea how much that brand-new dishwasher you bought for the kitchen costs you every month. However, with technology at the level it is at today, this is possible to know and monitor. Knowing how much and where your energy goes has been proven to decrease your monthly energy bill by up to 6-18%. This is simply because you are more conscious of what is turned on and what does not need to be turned on all the time. We've rounded up an inspiring selection top-rated applications, gadgets, and other technological devices that will help you track your energy and save some money.

Google PowerMeter

energy savingThe innovative Google PowerMeter software enables you to view and track your home energy consumption right from the convenience of your computer. It connects to your utility smart meter or in-home management device and creates tables and graphs of your energy consumption. It also calculates your monthly bill before it arrives in the mail so there are no more surprises on your energy statement.

Pros: There is nothing easier than logging on to your computer and seeing that you left a light on in the basement. Once you start to understand what your normal energy consumption is, the charts and graphs make it easy to instantly identify that something is turned on even though it is not needed. The software is completely free. All you need to do is download it from the Internet and start monitoring!

Cons: The software will only work with a currently installed utility smart meter or in-home management system. These devices are not as expensive as one might think, but they need purchasing and installing.

Overall: **** Ease of Use: **** Price: **** Savings Potential: ***

Wattson

The sleek Wattson device contains two parts: One that connects to your current home energy electricity supply and one wireless device that can be placed on the coffee table to show you how much electricity is being used. The wireless device has iPod-type styling so it is a nice visual addition to any home, as well as a money-saving device. There are also two modes of the wireless device that show your energy consumption: instantaneous energy use and overall yearly energy use.

Pros: The Wattson’s design was made to be enjoyed as an added decoration piece in the home and thus does not detract from the interior decor of any home. The setup is very simple and no additional items need to be purchased for individual electrical items. Easily connects to the computer to view information in charts and tables as well as connects to an online network of people who own a Wattson and would like to share their stories.

Cons: Price! This device is one of the pricier ones on the market today. However, the price reflects its design and easy usage.

Overall: **** Ease of Use: ***** Price: ** Savings Potential: *****

The Energy Detective

TED (The Energy Detective) is a little device similar to the Wattson that measures energy consumption of all your electrical devices in your home. However, unlike the Wattson, it can also tell you how much your monthly bill will come out to be so that there are no surprises at the end of the month. It calculates based on the wattage used in your home, the amount of money you have spent. Since you are able to see this information in terms that everyone can understand ($$), you are able to control that number by what electrical devices you keep turned on and which ones you turn off.

Pros: Its screen is easy to use and understand, providing all the information you need to save money on energy costs. A small device that will not take up a lot of space in the home, TED connects to the computer to view tables and charts of your home energy usage.

Cons: This device is definitely more expensive than some of the other gadgets that have been mentioned. However, because you will see how much money you are spending and hopefully turn off that bathroom light more often, the price you pay for the TED will come right back into your pocket.

Overall: **** Ease of Use: ***** Price: *** Savings Potential: *****

Energy Hub

The Energy Hub can virtually turn your home into a smart home because you can actually view and turn things off using the monitoring device to optimize your energy usage at that time. All the devices that are connected to the Energy Hub can be controlled through the dashboard that is hung on your wall or placed on the desk, or by going on to your computer and monitoring it from there. There is also a setting to optimize your energy usage when you are not at home. It can set all your connected devices to "away," which will make sure that all the lights are turned off and all of your appliances are working on the least amount of power needed when not in use.

Pros: The ability of this device to control all your appliances from one spot in your home  is convenient, especially when your home is on the larger side. Also, being able to put your home on “away” can save you lots of time and money since it will make sure everything is turned off that needs to be turned off and you don’t even need to run back upstairs to turn off the light.

Cons: Each device that you would like to monitor needs to be plugged into Energy Hubs’ specialty devices. There are ones that look like power outlet splitters, but if you would like to hook up your whole home, this will require many of these adapters and thus a lot of money at the start. However, this device will pay for itself once you start using it so putting in that extra money at the start might not be a bad idea.

Overall: **** Ease of Use: ***** Price: * Savings Potential: *****

Home Energy PowerCost Monitor

This device is exactly what it says it is: a home energy power cost monitor. It is very similar to the TED in that one part attaches to the energy meter outside your home and one part is connected wirelessly and sits inside your home and delivers all the information to you. It can display this information either in watts used or in amount of money spent, so this way it is easy to monitor your monthly energy costs.

Pros: This device is easy to use and easy to monitor. It looks like a simplified version of the TED, so for people who are less technologically advanced, this might be a better option. The price is also realistic and worth what you will be saving in the future. It also displays the time and outside temperature.

Cons: Running on regular batteries, the device will eventually run out and will need to be changed. Information is not as accurate because it updates less frequently than other devices (every 30 seconds rather than every second). It also does not connect to the computer, so tracking energy use is not as easy as with some of the other devices.

Overall: **** Ease of Use: ***** Price: **** Savings Potential: ***

Agilewaves

Agilewaves has created a home monitoring system that not only monitors your energy usage, but it also monitors your gas and water usage as well for a more accurate measurement and more money savings. This system was created for owners of several homes in the same area to compare usage and level things out to make sure that none of the homes are using too much energy. The information collected from the monitors goes directly to a web-based system that shows all the information in easy-to-see and comparable graphs and tables.

Pros: Since this device measures more than electricity usage, you will be able to save more money and create even less of a carbon footprint on the environment. Also, tracking more than one home at once and comparing might make it easier to see where money can be saved and where money is currently being lost.

Cons: This system has not been created for a single residential home yet. It is also sold mostly to the commercial market as of right now and is not very easy to install. It is not very accessible to the general public at this point, but hopefully in the near future we will all be able to have an Agilewaves system in our homes.

Overall: *** Ease of Use: *** Price: * Savings Potential: *****

Kill-A-Watt

This nifty little device is useful for everyday use and single appliance monitoring. By connecting a single appliance into the Kill-A-Watt, you are able to see how many watts it is using and, with the newer models, how much that appliance is costing you. This is a great, cheap version of all the other gadgets on this page and is very simple to use. Plug in an appliance, and GO!

Pros: It gives you detailed information on individual appliances so that you can tell what is eating up all your money. The results are instant and very precise, and this device only focuses on one thing at a time so it is very easy to understand.

Cons: You can only measure one thing at a time, so monitoring your whole house at once is not possible with this device. It is also not at easy to keep track of improvements in energy usage since it does not connect to the computer. You can manually record the information, but it does not automatically happen as with some of the other devices.

Overall: **** Ease of Use: **** Price: ***** Savings Potential: ***

Consumers Power Online Usage Calculator

This convenient website can calculate your approximate use of energy by you filling out a form about all the possible appliances that you have in the home. It uses averages from American households and from this information you can see what items you might be using too much and which appliances do not need to be always turned on.

Pros: There is no need to purchase anything! Doing these calculations might get you thinking about energy use and monitoring, and help you decide what kind of device you would like to actually purchase. It's a great first step in home efficiency.

Cons: Obviously you will not get as accurate results as with actual gadgets that measure specific appliances. Since the calculations are done with averages of the United States, your use might vary greatly from that of other people and thus you might not get the information you were necessarily looking for.

Overall: **  Ease of Use: *****  Price: *****   Savings Potential: *

iTunes App Store

The iTunes app store has many apps that claim to help you calculate your energy usage and help determine which appliances could be used less and how you could save money on your electricity bill. The “Watts Plus” calculator estimates, using information that you put in, what your monthly bill will be, and how you can lower that number. A popular app is the “TED-O-Meter,” which works together with the TED 5000 device that was mentioned earlier. According to customer reviews, they love the device and use it all the time together with their TED.

Pros: The apps at the iTunes store are very inexpensive and some are even free. iPhone/iPad apps allow you to have the information right in the palm of your hand, anywhere. The price ranges on these types of applications, but generally apps under $5 are a good buy. Just be sure to check the reviews and seller to avoid getting a dud.

Cons: Currently there are no apps that connect to the home energy meter directly. You either need a device that can be used with an app or you can simply estimate how much you keep your appliances turned on and it will calculate it for you.

Overall: **** Ease of Use: ***** Price: ***** Savings Potential: **

DreamWatts

DreamWatts, a product of PowerMand, Inc., is a system that connects your home to the web and monitors everything from lights and fridges to alarm clocks and washing machines. The system does need to be installed by professionals, but after that is done, you have a system that will tell you exactly what is going on in your home and what needs to be turned off at that point in time to save energy.

Pros: This system truly monitors absolutely everything. It provides a complete analysis of your home electricity usage and tells you what can be done to lower your monthly bill. It is also very easy to use and monitor since any problems you may have, you can call the company and they will make sure to fix it for you.

Cons: DreamWatts needs to be installed by a professional, so it may not be the best option for someone that wants to do everything themselves. The price ranges might not be accessible for all people, so that might also stop some buyers from purchasing this product.

Overall: *** Ease of Use: **** Price: * Savings Potential: *****

About the Author

This article is from Wellhome, which provides Home Energy Audits or Assessments with the ability to upgrade HVAC, Windows, and Home Insulation, and perform Duct Tightening and Air Sealing to create a comfortable more well balanced home that performs at its best level.  Home energy assessments through WellHome  allow the homeowner to get a bigger picture of the efficiency of the home and its ability to maintain comfortable temperatures and air flow.

Disclaimer:

The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of sunnyray.org. The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.





Comments:

Electrical Supplies says:
01-18-2012


Some of these are not so obvious but I shall for sure recommend these on to people I know. The Itunes idea is especially eye opening and one I will be putting into action myself.

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