More Ways to Monitor Energy

Right now, it’s affordable systems or bust.

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Threshold's smart box Home Controller

I’ve been harping about energy monitoring systems lately—and with pretty good reason, it turns out. I just read of a study that shows that people who see how much energy they’re using save 10 to 20 percent in electricity, which is a good thing for their bank accounts and the planet.

There are a few affordable systems like a Kill-a-Watt that allows you to plug in an appliance of device to see approximately how much juice it’s consuming, and I recently wrote of Threshold Corporation’s suite of wireless products that can report energy use via plug-in modules. For a more sophisticated solution, there’s Solaris Home System’s Environmental Management Automation system that uses HomeSeer software. I also hear of some Z-Wave products that may use a camera at the exterior power meter so you can see that baby spin.

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I also recently stumbled upon the Power Cost Monitor that uses a wireless relay at the electric meter and translates that into dollars and cents, visible on a small box with an LCD readout inside the home. It costs $146, and there’s a foolproof set-up video on the website.

It’s still sort of a duct-tape and jerry-rigged world in home energy monitoring, but some of these systems may be worth a shot.

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