What’s consuming the most
power in my building? What’s consuming more power than usual? How big will my
electricity bill be?

 

You
have a smart thermostat which saves energy. The WiFi thermostat glows up on the
wall reminding you how energy progressive you are and shows how much energy you
have saved.

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That’s a good first step. But what comes after a smart thermostat?
Home energy saving is not just turning the heat (or AC) up and down. Energy
management includes a lot more. There are a number of smart home devices and
settings that can contribute as much or more to your total energy savings,
which compound when you integrate the functions of these devices together (like
ENERGY STAR appliances, delay function etc.)

There
may not be much you can do about the draw from each item you’ve got plugged in
at home. But one way you can potentially save is by understanding how much
electricity each appliance is using and turn off this so called “vampire
load” that’s being sucked away by devices in a standby mode.

Why energy monitor?

The
utility bill shows you how much electricity you have used daily and how much
you’re being charged. Some smart meters can even provide hourly data,
Unfortunately, that’s about it.

Let’s
say you want to cut your energy use to save money or reduce your carbon
footprint. Or you have a goal of being zero energy (pretty sleek goal isn’t
it!!) To do that you either have to try to axe the bills, or simply guess which
devices are running and for how much time. Energy monitors exist to eliminate
this guessing game. They connect to your circuit breaker and learn your
consumption pattern. They track your energy consumption with much finer detail.

Is it really worth investing?

I had the same question before
investing into one. As humans, we all make mistakes and we all forget things. I
always forget to turn off closet or hallway lights. Monitoring the energy
consumption in your home on an appliance-by-appliance basis can reveal big
surprises. My big surprise was that the biggest daily waster of energy in my home wasn’t
the heat, air conditioning, laundry, or refrigerator like you might think. It was 20-yr old microwave which was used more frequently than
any other appliance in the home.

 

Some savings come from
detecting suspicious deviations from standard operating procedure. All monitors
can alert you if they sense something awry. For instance, I got a warning that my
refrigerator was consuming a lot more than usual. Turns out, the door was left
ajar.

 

The potential of monitoring devices, is to make you aware of the
hundreds of devices around you and do the remembering work for you. These small
savings add up and will pay for itself in few months. In 2008 U.S. Department
of Energy released a study that tracking energy consumption dropped the average
household’s energy use by 10% and during peak period by 15%.

 

As they
say, You can’t change what you can’t see. In this case, you will probably be more conscientious about turning off lights
if you see the wattage increase every time you flip a switch. Learn
how much power your devices and your whole house regularly draw, and use that
information to cut your power bills.