As we head down the rabbit hole of recession, one of the best tools we have for reducing our consumption is transparency; being able to see what we are using and how much it is costing us as we use it. Prius drivers find that the fuel consumption gauges improve their driving as they watch what happens when they accelerate too fast; in the 70s cars had vacuum gauges, they should again. In fact, there should probably be a meter on everything.
Where we live, they don't even meter water yet; one pays a flat rate at the same time they are asking us to conserve. Smart electric meters are just beginning to be installed. But what if electric meters like the Wattson were required in every living unit?
How about waste meters on your sewer pipe, to encourage gray water separation and use?
Metered garbage- that is happening in many places already.
Metered food- we eat far too much, what if your fridge let you know what a rational amount of food is, reducing waste, reducing obesity, saving money?
Jaymi recently discussed Intelligent dashboards, but here are are some of the dumber but effective meters we have shown on TreeHugger:
The Ambient Orb is, according to Clive Thompson of Wired, "a groovy little ball that changes colour in sync with incoming data- growing more purple, for example as your email box fills up or as the chance of rain increases." Ambient says that "the physical environment becomes an interface to digital information rendered as subtle changes in form, movement, sound, color or light."The All-Seeing Orb Says You Are Wasting Electricity
Smart electricity meters and real-time pricing are an important first step in modernizing our electrical grid. Right now it is pretty dumb in most places, charging the same rate during peak hour as in the middle of the night, with no way to reward those who make an effort to have better consumption patterns. Smart Power Meters and Real-Time Pricing Leads to Saved Energy and Money
British designer Thomas James Owen proposes the Behouden wall clock/power display - it reads the electrical consumption of the house and displays it in kilowatt-hours and pounds sterling. It is made from fully recycled and recyclable materials. Behouden Power Meter by Thomas J Owen
Here's a gadget that might be useful to help settle these questions: Kill-a-Watt. You just plug it in the power outlet, plug into it whatever it is that you want to test et voilà! The first step toward conservation is having feedback on how much you consume. Kill-a-Watt
As other gadgets we've featured have helped to show, it's a lot easier to conserve when you know how much you're already using; this is the idea behind the InSight, InMind personal water meter. Like a Home Joule or PowerCost home energy monitor for water, this killer concept by Adam Kereliuk tracks your daily water usage throughout your house; at the end of the month, it's easy to see how much you've conserved/wasted. Concepts We Want Made: InSight, InMind Personal Water Meter