Since energy costs continue to rise, people start pondering ways to monitor and maintain an energy efficient home.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with a home energy monitor. But with the wide selection out there, it can be tough figuring out which option is right for you. At GreenHomes America we're here to help you understand what kind of monitoring you'd like to do, and what product selection is available to you to get the savings you want to achieve.
Basic: Individual Appliance or Outlet Monitoring
The easiest way to measure how much energy your home is using is to monitor the individual appliances in your home to find out which appliances are the biggest energy wasters. Kill A Watt manufacturers several devices that can measure the amount of electricity an individual appliance is using or all the appliances plugged into a power strip. You can figure out your electrical expenses by the hour, day, week, month, and even an entire year. After using these devices, you’ll be shocked to find out how much money you’re spending by simply leaving certain appliance plugged in all day long or how much that 30 year old refrigerator in the garage is costing you each year.
Intermediate: Whole-House Power Monitors
This approach takes a broader look at your home's energy use.
Devices that monitor whole home energy use are called power monitors. You can enter information about the devices you want to monitor as well as information about your energy bills, and the monitor will let you know how much electricity your home is using and what that is costing you. Some products plug into an outlet and combine your home energy consumption rate with info about your local utility costs, time of day, and weather to tell you if you're using too much energy. There are other products which hook up to the electrical panel of your home and display how much your current electricity use is costing. Switch off a light, see the cost go down. Newer devices on the market use a wireless sensor next to the meter to feed information to a portable monitor inside your home. You can use it to find out the best times to switch devices, appliances, and lights off for the most savings.
Advanced: Smart Homes
This is the big-picture approach to home energy monitoring. These devices can be a larger investment but can also save the most energy. Advanced systems and smart home appliances work in conjunction to give you a thorough and interactive look at your home's energy use. Most of these systems will also allow you to automate your home's appliances and devices so you can monitor and control energy use remotely. Many also allow you to control most of your appliances for a central panel. For example, having the ability to turn off/on your TV’s, stereo, lights, etc. These are very exciting technologies and will continue to get easier to use and less expensive. However, going to the maximum level with smart home appliances, metering and software is something to consider if you’re interested in serious energy efficiency.
The Final Decision
The best way to narrow down your options is to decide what level of monitoring you want to accomplish, how much you want to spend, and how much you want to save. Most likely, you'll fall into the affordable yet effective middle category of power monitors that hook up to your meter and let you know what you're spending.
A GreenHomes Advisor will be happy to discuss your needs at the time of the Audit and make recommendations on which level is right for you.