Considering the impact of smart energy meters on how we use electricity, Sami Grover has argued "it's clear that simple feedback mechanisms can have a huge impact on household behavior." Thinking the same thing, Paris has announced it will issue a free kit to monitor water and electricity use to anyone who requests one.
The kit, offered by the Parisian Climate Agency (APC), includes a watt meter and a flow meter. They're simple tools, and can only measure one device (like a television or air conditioner) or water source (a sink or shower, for example). But information is power, and the natural response to finding how much energy one uses - and pays for - is to wonder how to reduce that number.
That's why the free kit also includes a low-energy light bulb, a power strip, and a device for limiting water flow. To provide extra help, the APC offers access to counselors who can help individuals cut down, by phone, e-mail, or in person.
Putting simple technology in the hands of people will save them money and reduce the footprint of Paris as a whole. That's a good lesson for communities in the United States battling the adoption of smart meters.