LIVE image

Google your 'Fridge

Posted February 23, 2009 10:48 AM by Mark Piepkorn
Related Categories: Product Talk, Science & Tech
The tireless folks from Google's for-profit charity, Google.org, are developing a web-based application called PowerMeter that takes advantage of the increasing availability of "smart meters" from utility companies and independent manufacturers. Millions upon millions of homes and businesses are expected to be upgraded to these meters in the coming years, which (among other things) track electrical use in real time rather than just offering a simple sum of total use. This creates an opportunity for people to discover usage trends — and even help to identify specific loads — encouraging informed conservation. Google puts it like this:
How much does it cost to leave your TV on all day? What about turning your air conditioning 1 degree cooler? Which uses more power every month — your fridge or your dishwasher? Is your household more or less energy efficient than similar homes in your neighborhood?
Our lack of knowledge about our own energy usage is a huge problem, but also a huge opportunity for us all to save money and fight global warming by reducing our power usage. Studies show that access to your household's personal energy information is likely to save you between 5-15% on your monthly bill, and the potential impact of large numbers of people achieving similar efficiencies is even more exciting. For every six households that save 10% on electricity, for instance, we reduce carbon emissions as much as taking one conventional car off the road.
The application is still in prototype — you can't get it yet — but when it comes online, how much will it cost? Answer: Nothin'. Free to the users, free to the utilities. We really don't know when it will be rolled out to the public, but it's likely not too far off. So why are utility companies switching over to the smart meters in the first place? Partly because they transmit data — providers can save money by pretty much eliminating the dwindling population of meter readers. It also opens up the opportunity to introduce peak billing to residential users.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for BuildingGreen email updates

*

Comments

1 Could this be the beginning o posted by Robert on 02/23/2009 at 08:17 am

Could this be the beginning of Benchmarking for Energy Consumption for the Home?


— Share This Posting!

Recent Discussions

posted by UNSWcw
on Jul 15, 2014

I have just built a house in Australia with an AAC floor. At 120lbs for 6ft by 2ft slabs, it is not lightweight. It is 3 inches thich with thin...

posted by andy.boutin
on Jun 25, 2014

Like Dutch's post above, I would like to reiterate the fact that there is another solution: Wood Pellet Boilers. These are systems that connect...

posted by Bill Swanson
on Jun 20, 2014

Be sure to read the warranty on any solar thermal products.

Recent Comments


7 Tips to Get More from Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Colder Climates

Chris Tabone says, "I have an old Vermont home with multiple rooms we would need to condition. We have insulated well, and brought our fuel consumption way down. I'd..." More...

bob coleman says, "You can use a air conditioning 'evaporator coil cleaner' product. Try the type that comes in a spray can and sprays foam. You can find it at any..." More...

Diane Oleksia says, "We love our Mini Split Unit. It is eight years old. Other than cleaning the filter we have never cleaned it. I have a chalky white residue..." More...


Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC): Will the U.S. Ever Lighten Up?

The University of New South Wales says, "I have just built a house in Australia with an AAC floor. At 120lbs for 6ft by 2ft slabs, it is not lightweight. It is 3 inches thich with thin rebar..." More...


How Window Screens Affect Winter Fuel Use in Heating Climates

w d says, "Re: John's comment about the heating season in Upstate NY. We live in the Chicago area. We have gas heat and a//c. This past year our..." More...