October 11, 2012
| by Steven Castle
Powerhouse Dynamics last week released a new version of its iOS and Android eMonitor app to remotely get a snapshot of a home or business’ energy usage, down to the individual circuits or appliances.
The company says the app is the first in the industry to enable users to drill-down to see real-time equipment operating profiles. This allows a homeowner or facility manager who receives a report of a malfunctioning HVAC unit or appliance to immediately view the status of the unit via a smart phone and determine the best course of action for resolving the issue.
The app works with Powerhouse’s eMonitor system that measures electricity usage by the circuit, which allows more detailed reporting of energy consumption and pinpointing of problems or wasteful areas than systems that only monitor whole-house or building energy use. The company has released commercial and wireless systems as well.
I reloaded my own eMonitor app for my home’s eMonitor system. The home “page” on my iPhone shows a meter with total electricity usage, and under that there’s a list of the circuits by largest current users. Slide a finger and you can see all the circuits. From there I can “drill down” to see graphical representations of power usage for that circuit in the past day, week or month, which is pretty handy.
You can also see total usage over these times and projected costs of the top three users in the last 30 days. It may not seem like much, but to know I’m spending $17 this month on the subpanel in the garage, which mostly represents an old fridge, is a good reminder to get rid of that thing. (Though I still have a partner to convince). You can also see projected costs for all circuits. The ability to drill down is a huge plus for this app. I don’t remember that being a feature in the previous version of the app, which I pretty much deemed worthless.
I can see this being a much more helpful feature for commercial establishments than little old me. But I can get into my eMonitor interface much more quickly and in a much handier fashion than with the usual web portal.
The latest eMonitor app release also provides a range of other new features, including support for Powerhouse Dynamics’ commercial thermostat that enables up to 8 different set points per day, giving managers even greater ability to fine-tune heating and cooling systems. “Many of our customers are now empowered to impress their own customers” says Jason Roeder, Director of Energy Products and Services for Powerhouse Dynamics. “For example, in the case of restaurant guests who feel too hot or too cold – the host can simply use his or her smartphone and make the adjustment on the spot.”
The new eMonitor mobile app is available to eMonitor users for download for the iPhone from the Apple App Store and for Android on Google Play.
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