The future of home energy efficiency involves something called the "smart meter," which will communicate the price fluctuations of energy throughout the day to the consumer, as well as consumer energy consumption habits back to the utility company. This new technology will cut out the middle man who needs to come into the home to "read the meter." The increased awareness created by a home energy saving device will hopefully encourage better conservation of energy and lead America to a more sustainable future. Currently just 6% of all households are hooked up with a smart meter, but you can get an early start by purchasing one of the inexpensive gizmos on the market.
One of the meter options is EnergyHub, which "produces smart, simple, and cost-effective energy management tools that strengthen the relationship between consumers and utilities and help solve the energy problems of today and tomorrow." Time Magazine recently called this energy monitor dashboard "one of the best inventions of 2009" for its ability to rein in real power-hogs.
"In a car you can usually see how much gas you're using," wrote senior writer Lev Grossman. "With electricity in a home, you never could before. But now... in real time you can, using EnergyHub, and I think it's going to save America billions and billions of dollars."
Another one of the energy efficiency systems is Tendril. According to the website, the Tendril Residential Energy Ecosystem (TREE) "seamlessly connects 'smart' consumer devices (like thermostats and outlets) to the existing utility back office and establishes a dialog between consumers and their energy providers." The in-home wireless network facilitates dialogue between consumers and utility companies through a monitor. The Tendril Vantage consumer portal lets consumers control their home wireless network devices remotely from work, the car or wherever. Currently, Tendril only sells to utility companies, not to individuals, so you will have to ask your provider if they carry the home energy saving devices. For more information, visit www.tendrilinc.com.
The Energy Detective (TED) from South Carolina's Energy Inc. claims to help homeowners improve their energy efficiency by 10-20%. TED is one of the few consumer power saving gadgets that is currently available. According to the website, "With its two-second reaction time, TED provides immediate feedback on energy usage. For you, that means no surprises. You can see what you're spending on electricity each second, as well as what you've spent so far today or so far this month." The TED 5000 model works with Google PowerMeter to show you graphs and charts related to your energy consumption. You'll be able to access energy usage data online and from your mobile phone. You'll also receive customized information on how to save on energy bills.
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