Imagining the Future of Power Monitoring.

I read a fascinating article just a few moments ago by Green Wombat, a CNN Money Blog. This article talks about new software under development by Google called PowerMeter which allows one to monitor power utilization in your house by specific pieces of equipment (e.g. fridge, dryer, lights, etc.). Apparently there are other companies working on similar technologies – including startups Tendril and Greenbox.

Now, such a utility has a number of benefits:

  • Consumers can find old, faulty, or poorly designed equipment that is draining lots of power and replace them. By seeing how much a dishwasher is costing over the period of a year one can determine whether an upgrade will actually save you money in the long-run.
  • Power companies could begin charging variable rates based on demand, thus the costs at night for power would be less than during the day. This would encourage consumers to run certain processes at night (laundry, dishwasher) and pay less – which also saves power companies (they don’t have to build additional capacity to meet the peak demands of the day).
  • One can locate bad habits (leaving the lights on in a given room all the time) and eliminate them – and can find out what myths about saving money we have been performing that don’t really work.

I’m not exactly sure how this entire entity will be implemented. My guess is that some software will run on your computer (e.g. PowerMeter) and enabled devices within your home will wirelessly transmit their power usage data to the software, allowing for analysis over time. I’m gonna go read more about this – but if I may make one suggestion (that perhaps someone is already working on) – it would be great to get adapters that would plug onto existing devices and allow us to check power usage on devices without built-in monitoring capabilities…

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