How Can The Smart Grid Save You $500 A Year?

Research shows that nearly 50 percent of consumers have heard the term “smart grid” before, but how many of us really know what it means? More importantly, how many of us know how accelerating the transition to a smarter grid will affect the things we care about, like the environment and our personal utility bills?

A new website launched this week by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) aims to answer those questions and then some. Called “WhatIsSmartGrid.org“, the online resource aims to explain smart grid concepts in everyday language while communicating the benefits of the smart grid in ways that impact people where they live, work, and play.

SGCC What Is Smart Grid screenshot

Screenshot via WhatIsSmarGrid.org

The website contains a wealth of information designed to educate regular consumers about the potential of the smart grid as well as the terminology relating to it that they may hear in the media.

Too much industry-speak and technical language can alienate homeowners, leading them to accept the information handed to them by biased sources online or on TV. WhatIsSmarGrid.org aims to level the playing field so that consumers understand just how much a decentralized smart grid rooted in renewable energy can improve our economy and energy security.

Helpful features of the website include:

  • An interactive smart grid infographic showing just what a 9 percent more efficient grid would amount to;
  • A state-by-state menu that connects consumers with information about local energy data and programs;
  • Customized feature sections for those who want to learn more about the smart grid in general, environmental benefits, cost savings and empowerment;
  • Energy resources including: videos, fact sheets, research and links to other renewable energy websites;
  • An “Ask an expert” section – a Frequently Asked Question section, which also features the ability for consumers to get answers from experts.

“The site was created to help all types of energy consumers, from families trying to stretch their household budget to young people in their first apartment, understand how a smart grid can benefit them,” explains SGCC Executive Director Patty Durand in a press release.

Check it out for yourself and then comment on this post to let us know what you think of this new smart grid resource.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

  • Chris Turner

    http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=6959

    Santa Cruz County, CA Board of Supervisors directed its public
    health officer to prepare an analysis of the research on the health
    effects of Smart Meters in December 2011. Poki Stewart Namkung, M.D.
    M.P.H., prepared this report: Health Risks Associated With SmartMeters which recognizes:

    Smart Meters transmit pulsed radiation (RF) 24/7

    There are evidence-based health risks of RF

    RF exposure can be cumulative and additive

    The massive increase in RF public exposures since the mid-1990′s

    The controversy between independent and industry science, including lack of funding for independent research

    Evidence to support an Electrical Sensitivity (EHS) diagnosis

    The public health issue is that Smart Meters are involuntary RF exposures

    FCC thermal guidelines are irrelevant for non-thermal public exposures.

    The lack of relevant safety standards for chronic pulsed RF

    The report summary calls for more government vigilance towards
    involuntary RF public exposures because, “…governmental agencies are the
    only defense against such involuntary exposure.”

    The report also provides examples of strategies to reduce RF
    including minimize cell and cordless phone use, use speakerphone when
    possible, use wired internet connections, avoid setting a laptop on your
    lap, and more.

    Excerpts: “The public health issue of concern in
    regard to SmartMeters is the involuntary exposure of individuals and
    households to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.”

    “There are numerous situations in which the distance between the
    SmartMeters and humans is less than three feet on an ongoing basis, e.g.
    a SmartMeter mounted on the external wall to a bedroom with the bed
    placed adjacent to that mounting next to the internal wall. ”

    “…SmartMeters emit frequencies almost continuously, day and night, seven days a week.”

    “… exposure is additive and consumers may have already increased
    their exposures to radiofrequency radiation in the home through the
    voluntary use of wireless devices …It would be impossible to know how
    close a consumer might be to their limit, making uncertainty with the
    installation of a mandatory SmartMeter. ”

    “… all available, peer-reviewed, scientific research data can be
    extrapolated to apply to SmartMeters, taking into consideration the
    magnitude and the intensity of the exposure.”

    “Since the mid-1990′s the use of cellular and wireless devices has
    increased exponentially exposing the public to massively increased
    levels of RF.”

    ” It must be noted that there is little basic science funding for this type of research and it is largely funded by industry.”

    “…most research carried out by independent non-government or
    non-industry affiliated researchers suggests potentially serious effects
    from many non-ionizing radiation exposures, research funded by industry
    and some governments seems to cast doubt on the potential for harm.”

    “Despite this controversy, evidence is accumulating on the results of
    exposure to RF at non-thermal levels including increased permeability
    of the blood-brain barrier in the head (Eberhardt, 2008), harmful
    effects on sperm, double strand breaks in DNA which could lead to cancer
    genesis (Phillips, 2011), stress gene activation indicating an exposure
    to a toxin (Blank, 2011), and alterations in brain glucose metabolism
    (Volkow, 2011). ”

    “Currently, research has demonstrated objective evidence to support the EHS diagnosis…”

    “Meeting the current FCC guidelines only assures that one should not
    have heat damage from SmartMeter exposure. It says nothing about safety
    from the risk of many chronic diseases that the public is most concerned
    about such as cancer, miscarriage, birth defects, semen quality,
    autoimmune diseases, etc. Therefore, when it comes to nonthermal effects
    of RF, FCC guidelines are irrelevant and cannot be used for any claims
    of SmartMeter safety unless heat damage is involved (Li, 2011). ”

    “There are no current, relevant public safety standards for pulsed RF
    involving chronic exposure of the public, nor of sensitive populations,
    nor of people with metal and medical implants that can be affected both
    by localized heating and by electromagnetic interference (EMI) for
    medical wireless implanted devices.”

    “Many other countries have significantly lower RF/MW exposure
    standards ranging from 0.001 to 50 ~W/cm2 as compared with the US
    guideline of 200-1 000 ~W/cm2″

    “In summary, there is no scientific data to determine if there is a safe RF exposure level regarding its non-thermal effects.”

    This is an excellent report and a must read for all public
    policy decision makers, and especially utility regulators. Many thanks
    to Dr. Stewart Namkung, the Santa Cruz Supervisors and to the EMF
    educators in their area! Please circulate!