Monitoring Energy Use at Home

Monitoring Energy Use at Home

Posted by Tara, Health & Specialty Sales

TaraHi! I’m Tara and I am a field sales representative here at Tom’s of Maine. Among the many reasons that I joined Tom’s was my passion for the environment and my desire to work for a company that shares this passion. Thankfully, Tom’s has a slew of strong environmentally friendly practices in place for making natural toothpaste, natural deodorant and other personal care products. Working for a company that “walks the walk” on this issue is really cool, and it inspires me to improve my own stewardship of the planet. With that in mind, I think it is time for me to make some changes for the better and this is the year to do it!

Chief among my 2012 green goals is to use less energy and the place I want to start is my home. Between appliances, the TV, the computer and various cell phone chargers, I am sure there is a lot of room for improvement. However, I am quickly realizing that I don’t know where all that energy goes I don’t know which of my gadgets and appliances are guzzling the most power and when my energy consumption is at its peak. I am a bit of a tech geek, so I was hoping I could find a good techie solution to help. A quick internet search showed me I was in luck.

One of the coolest tools that I encountered was from the company EnergyHub. This Brooklyn-based company makes a home energy management system. The starter kit + thermostat consists of an electric socket, power strip and a programmable thermostat, all of which communicate wirelessly with a home base, which is also included. A touchscreen display provides details about how much energy each device is using in real time, including your thermostat information. You can also use the home base to control the devices. Finally, the system can connect to the internet so that all that information can be accessed from a computer or mobile device or used to control the system remotely.  That means you can actually turn off individual sockets when you are away from home. The remote feature is particularly handy if you are like me and have left the lights on more than once. The starter kit with the wireless thermostat seems a bit pricey at $399. EnergyHub does have other options that range in price depending on the components you choose.

In addition to complete solutions like the system from EnergyHub, there are several power monitors that can give you a birds-eye view of your home energy usage. The Energy Detective (TED) offers the TED 5000-G which connects to your electricity panel and is able to monitor up to 5 individual appliances. The system includes software which can be used to track your energy usage in real time and project monthly bills. You can also purchase individual electricity outlet monitors, like the Belkin Conserve Insight Energy Use Monitor. This gadget is handy if you just want to periodically check in on a certain device’s energy use, like a TV or microwave; and seems pretty cost effective at $29.99 per monitor.

These are just a few of the options available to help get a better handle on how much energy is used in the home. I haven’t used any personally yet, and can’t attest to how well the products work.  I’m weighing my options about what to do next!

Do you have any experience with energy monitoring and conservation devices that  have worked for you? Leave us a comment and let us know!