The idea of a device that constantly keeps an eye on your home and can tell you which electrical devices are running at any one time, may sound appealing when it comes to saving energy and money.
If you are just getting started with energy measurement, simple, inexpensive plug-in meters are very useful. They will teach you the basics of how to save energy. If you elect to install a whole house energy meter system in the future they can provide supplemental plug load information to make your home energy audit more precise.
You can really save energy by doing a thorough home energy audit. This process organizes your energy usage information by circuit. When you make changes, the audit provides a baseline for you compare how well your ideas really save electricity.
Applying good energy saving ideas is key to maximizing your home energy savings. A home energy monitoring system can be used to measure the results of how well those ideas are implemented. Knowing what products are available and how to use them will arm you with the strategies needed to reduce electric bills now and well into the future.
If you know how much energy your home is using and when it’s using it, you can better respond to that usage and take control of your costs. Before smart home systems, energy monitoring mostly meant scanning your electricity bill each month and then telling your family to shut off the lights. New technology makes the process much easier.
There are several ways you can monitor (and then respond to) your home’s electricity usage. Some methods let you monitor only the appliance you have connected to the monitoring device, while other systems take a whole-house approach. Here are a few energy monitoring systems worth checking out:
The TED Pro Home Energy Monitoring System uses your home’s existing powerlines to monitor energy usage in real-time. It can actually tackle up to 32 individual circuits, as well as individual rooms. That way, you can keep tabs on devices that are energy hogs and unplug them accordingly.
The TED Pro electricity monitor uses measuring devices that clamp onto the main conductors inside your breaker panel. The devices then send the data that’s measured over your home’s powerlines. No extra wiring is needed! That data is collected in a receiving unit, which you can plug into any outlet around the house. Inside, the receiving unit has the company’s Footprints software, which can store and track up to 10 years worth of energy data. Homeowners can keep tabs on that information via any web-enabled device (such as a smartphone). You can even opt to receive customized alerts via text or email messages. Other features include colored LEDs to alert users to different parameters, as well as the option to turn loads on and off based on the cost of electricity, use, and more. This monitoring unit runs around $299.00
Digi XBee Smart Meter
The Digi XBee Smart Meter plugs into any outlet to make it into a smart outlet and lets you monitor and measure whatever is plugged into that outlet, and even control those devices as needed. The Digi XBee Smart Meter connects to your ZigBee network. And if you’re looking to monitor multiple devices, you can do that, by adding in one of the company’s ConnectPort X gateways. That combination allows you to have multiple Digi XBee Smart Meters scattered throughout the house, creating one whole-house energy management solution. Each Digi XBee Smart Meter has a built-in mounting tab, so it can be securely attached to any wall socket. It can be used with the aforementioned ConnectPort X gateways, XBee embedded modules, XBee adapters, or XBee sensors, all without the need for a wired infrastructure. Once attached, users can monitor load consumption information, including on/off status, operating range, and even erratic behavior. This smart meter starts at $84. Can be purchased at this web store.
Elgato Eve Eve-Room
The upcoming Elgato Eve energy monitoring system uses Bluetooth and a variety of different sensors to deliver info on your home’s air quality, temperature, humidity, air pressure, water consumption and more. All of that data can be viewed in the free Eve iOS app. It’s also Apple HomeKit compatible, so when HomeKit actually launches, sometime, the Elgato Eve can be operated via Apple’s Siri voice control system. Initial sensors will include Eve Room, Weather, Water, Door & Window, Smoke and Energy. The entire system boasts an easy setup, thanks to the app. Other app features include info on outdoor temperature, humidity and air pressure, as well as the option to switch devices on or off remotely with one tap.
The Eve app will be available for use with the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Live smarter by knowing more about the place you care about most. The Eve-Room starts at $79.95.
Blue Line Innovations PowerCost System
The Power Cost system from Blue Line Innovations monitors your electricity usage at the source—well, not at the power plant, but as close as you can get. Users attach an optical sensor on the outside of their home’s electricity meter (it won’t get in the way of regular meter readings). The sensor monitors your energy usage in real time and sends that data wirelessly to a selection of devices in your home, including a portable monitor (with LED readouts) or a Wi-Fi bridge which communicates with a smartphone or tablet app or a computer. The Power Monitor, outdoor sensor and Wi-Fi bridge together cost $159.00.
Thermostats have been a staple in homes for many years, and their concept is pretty simple: they turn up and down the furnace and air conditioner to keep the temperature of the house comfortable. But thanks to the proliferation of newer, smarter thermostats, you might just start to give the heating and cooling features of your home a second look. Are you ready to explore the cool (or hot) world of smart thermostats? Here are a few of those devices that are gaining much popularity: