As energy prices continue their never-ending climb, consumers are finding more ways to fight back. Proper home insulation, turning to highly efficient appliances, complete home weatherization—even things as seemingly small and simple as installing low-flow showerheads and compact fluorescent bulbs are tools in the energy tightwad’s arsenal. Now, a relatively new industry is springing up to support energy misers.
While home energy monitors are nothing new, the field is getting increasingly crowded. There are stores on the Internet devoted solely to the technology, which provides real-time feedback on energy consumption to homeowners so they can change their energy using behavior. A search of Amazon’s tools and home improvement section turns up close to 200 results for “home energy monitors.” The growth in the segment is justified. Various studies have shown a reduction in home energy use of up to 15 percent through use of a home energy display.
The segment just got a little more crowded with the release of the EnergyBuddy home energy monitoring system by California-based FutureDash. The EnergyBuddy collects energy usage data through a current sensor and transmitter installed at the electrical panel or direct from a compatible smart meter. The data is transferred to the EnergyBuddy gateway device. That device, which features a glowing, translucent top to give an intuitive indication of energy use, transmits data to any number of monitors, including smart phones, laptops, tablets, computers and even some compatible smart TVs.
The EnergyBuddy displays the data in what they call an easy to use dashboard that allows consumers to understand their true energy consumption and costs of running a home or small business. With this information users can modify energy usage to cut their costs, better manage an energy budget and lower environmental impacts. Individual appliances and circuits can be monitored and controlled from FutureDash provided or other compatible smart plugs.
The EnergyBuddy also has a number of customizable features including real time and historical data, charts and graphs of usage and costs. The device can also display things like cost per hour, kilowatt-hours per day, goals and budget comparisons. If that’s not enough to make you an absolutely obsessive power penny pincher, the EnergyBuddy also features around the clock alerts and alarms that can be sent to your devices, warning you if your using more than your pre-set level of power.
The basic EnergyBuddy kit sells for under $100 and includes the gateway, current sensor and transmitter. For a few bucks more, the company will throw in a couple wireless smart plugs.