More Ways to Monitor Energy

Right now, it’s affordable systems or bust.


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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