The Power Monitor: Top Tools for Watching Your Home Energy Use

Smart Meters and Power Monitor Dashboards

Image via Google

Here is where power monitoring gets super-sized. Smart meters are hooked up with your utilities, which means your home and your utility company can talk to one another. This is what all of us will have at some point in the not-too-distant future. Many of these are options that will be available only through utility companies that sign on to work with the technology and offer it to customers. So, unless your utility is offering a program in connection with one of these systems, they aren't something you can access right now.

Some of the movers and shakers include Tendril with their TREE - Tendril Residential Energy Ecosystem - which connects a consumer's home to back-end utility systems to create smart dialogue for energy efficiency. Additionally, e-Meter has some fantastic software coming out that will connect homes to utilities with a simple user-friendly dashboard for homeowners to utilize.

High profile companies are involved as well, with both Google offering Power Meter, and Microsoft offering Hohm. However, Power Meter is planned to be connected with utilities, along the lines of what Tendril is offering, whereas Hohm is more simplistic and based specifically on helping people change habits regarding energy use rather than working as a smart grid user interface.

There are loads of tools that we haven't mentioned here, and loads more coming on to the market, which is rapidly growing. If you're not one of the lucky folks who lives in an area where smart meters are being installed and smart grid projects are planned, you might be wondering how to shop for what best suits you. Here are a few tips for finding the right home energy monitor for your needs. http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/pick-home-energy-monitor.html And if you like getting hands on, there's some fun hacks you can try

Bonus! Power Monitor Hacks

Photo via Jaymi Heimbuch

There are some great projects you can do with your monitors to add a little more user experience to them. Tweet-A-Watt is a favorite hack for the Kill A Watt, where you can hack the device to tweet out your energy consumption. The public exposure can be a big incentive to minimize energy consumption, treating it as bit of competition among friends, or simply saving face among your greenie followers.

Also, MOTO Labs has a great hack to hook up your home energy monitor to an Android-based cell phone. It's called AHEM - Android Home Energy Monitor - and you can check out all the materials and steps to create it over at MOTO.

More on Home Energy Monitoring
Smart Power Meters and Real-Time Pricing Leads to Saved Energy and Money
Green Your Electricity: Take Steps to Reduce Your Energy Use
Remote Control Your Home's Energy Use with Ploggs

Tags: Electronics | Energy Efficiency | Gadgets | Utilities