seeing my energy usage, how?


On Insider Forum on PBS two weeks ago, Suzanne Shu mentioned Ambient Orb, a product

“that people would keep in their house, and it would measure energy consumption in the home, so how much electricy you’re using.”

Unfortunately it doens’t actually do that (sort of).  I think she meant the PG&E Energy Orb which does, sort of (an Ambient Orb can subscribe to a PG&E demand-response channels).  It gets wireless data from PG&E and glows in response to PG&E’s system-wide energy availability but it doesn’t tell me anything about my home usage.

I really want Ambient’s EnergyJoule but I don’t live in NYC.  Or maybe something like the DYI Kyoto but I don’t like in the UK and can’t tell if that matters really.

I can’t get Al Gore’s call to “make the invisible visible” out of my consciousness and really want something like this for my house.  Any pointers?

ps.  Mr. Gore, can you stop by Mozilla next time you’re in Mountain View or Cupertino?  We’re across the street from Google.  Thanks!


Categories: Non Work

3 responses

  1. Daniel Einspanjer wrote on :

    I know the guy who makes these ( ). I installed one in my house and I’m working on a new reporting framework to bring the data display into the 21st century. Because you hook it up to the individual circuits in the circuit breaker box, you can easily see whether you are using most of your electricity in the kitchen or bedrooms etc.

  2. skierpage wrote on :

    I got a digital meter from the energy company (PG&E) when I installed solar PV. Metering definitely changes your behavior. I check it every time I enter the house (“3.1 kW delivered!?! Dang, is someone running an appliance?”). It encourages me to turn off all unneeded lights. Having a meter inside or with a network interface would be even more useful.

    However, whole house is often mysterious; if consumption jumps from 0.7 to 0.9 kW it’s hard to figure out why. Even with a Kill-A-Watt plug meter I can’t find the outlet unexpectedly consuming power. What would also be useful is monitoring each circuit at the circuit breaker like microMETER, but $1800 ain’t cheap.

  3. Crispin wrote on :

    I’ve written some software (Free for home use) which connects to various energy monitors. You can then comapre your usage to last month, see the cost, compare tariffs etc.