One of my biggest pet peeves around home energy management is that I can set and monitor the temperature and if I try hard enough— kilowatt hours—but I can’t tell how much I’m spending as I’m spending it. So every month, when the electric and gas bill show up, it’s a surprise. Sometimes surprisingly low. Sometimes, like this month, surprisingly, and ridiculously, high. Had I known how much we were on track to spend, I can guarantee we would have cut back.
Fortunately, Earth2Tech reports that help is on the way.
In early January, the Consumer Electronics Show, the harbinger of next-generation gadgets and gizmos, featured its biggest showing of consumer-facing home energy management in my recollection, and at least five different home energy management devices launched, from heavyweights like General Electric, Control4 and Best Buy. A couple weeks later news broke that Apple has filed for a patent that focuses on managing the energy of its computing devices, suggesting that the firm has been eyeing the home energy management space. And this week Blue Line Innovations announced that it has started selling the PowerCost Monitor, a $99 energy management tool, to consumers via Fry’s Electronics.
This is all very good news, but like any new technology, it may be challenging to get it installed. I’m sure there will be limitations on who can use it, bugs, and other things that make you crazy. But it does suggest that homeowners may finally get an opportunity to easily monitor their energy spending and there is probably no greater incentive than knowing what you spend to change behavior. Blue Innovations claims that trial users cut back by up to 18%!
And I, for one, will be happy for a world without January energy bill surprises.