Tue 16 Sep 2014
For someone like me that has been at this for so long, you get a little lazy about keeping up with the new stuff so caught me off guard.
The Power Monitor: Top Tools for Watching Your Home Energy Use
You can reduce electricity use by 15 percent without trying. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t. For those consumers using power monitors, this these are typical reductions. Just by being aware of where and when electricity is used, you’re far more likely to off a few devices or flipping a few light switches that might have been left on before, and can make a big dent in their energy consumption. IBM just solidified this statistic with their recent smart meter pilot program, and those households who really put in the effort showed as much as a 40% reduction on energy use. When looking at ways to monitor the energy consumption in a home, power monitors fit in three big buckets: checking the consumption of single devices or appliances, monitoring the energy use of a whole house, and online dashboards that link up with utility companies as part of a smart grid. The steady advance of smart grid technologies will bring more and more user-friendly options to the table. But for now, here are the three umbrella categories, and a few of the top tools under each that are helping people shrink the amount of electricity they use.
Plug Load Power Monitors
Kill A Watt is a classic example of a plug load monitor. These are power monitors that plug into a wall outlet, and then the device is plugged into them. They monitor how much energy the device is sucking up. They’re a great way to know which devices are power sippers, and which need to be unplugged. Other examples are the Watts Up Pro, which is similar to, but bulkier than the Kill A Watt; and the Brultech ECM-1220, which can monitor not only plug-in devices but also things that are wired into the home or the plug isn’t accessible (like dishwashers or ceiling fans) thanks to a current sensor that clamps onto the cord of the device.
The price range is significant, from about $35 for a Kill A Watt, to about $120 for a Watts Up, to about $250 for a Brultech ECM-1120. So your investment can vary, and really depends on how involved you need your basic plug load monitor to be.
You can check out a couple of these reviewed by Jon Plowman, the former head of BBC Comedy, along with some from the next category
Go there and read. More next week.