May 26, 2010
| by Steven Castle
Google is expanding its range for its PowerMeter energy monitoring software. The free program, which shows a visual graph of a home’s electricity use, can now be used with energy monitoring devices from TED (The Energy Detective) and Current Cost, a U.K.-based maker of energy monitoring devices.
Google’s PowerMeter was previously available only through smart grid utility programs, and the TED devices were back-ordered and difficult to obtain.
Current Cost’s Envi energy monitor is available in the United States through PowerSave, starting at $129. It connects to a computer running Google’s PowerMeter via USB cable or web hub, which will be available in August.
Current Cost devices are also available in the United States through Standard Renewable Energy (SRE).
TED devices compatible with Google PowerMeter are the 5000 series, starting at $300.
By working with these devices, Google’s PowerMeter should expand energy monitoring and make it available for many more people. However, the PowerMeter offers a visual interpretation of data that devices like TED and those from Current Cost collect at the home’s electrical box—and that only includes electrical use. Having immediate feedback on energy use, studies, show, saves people 5 percent to 15 percent in their energy costs.
Having information on a circuit-by-circuit basis requires a more elaborate energy monitoring system, such as the eMonitor by Powerhouse Dynamics.
Current Cost’s Envi:
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates