Thursday, March 1, 2007

Tracking Electricity Usage Just Got Easier

Power Cost MonitorAs home energy costs rise, so does awareness. Even those who have never before paid attention to their electrical usage are taking note as their monthly bills climb higher and higher. For those that would like to more closely monitor the power being used in their home, Blue Line Innovations of Canada offers an small device to do just that.

“As unobtrusive as a small electric clock, the PowerCost Monitor™ is a powerful real-time direct feedback display device for domestic energy consumers. It tells them at a glance, in real-time, how much electricity their home is using in dollars and cents and in kW.”

Such a display could be placed in one’s home in an easily accessible location, such as near the thermostat. Rather than regularly making the trek to your electric meter (and letting your air conditioning out in the process), the information is wirelessly transmitted to the display in your home. The device involves two separate units: a sensor unit for the meter (available for both mechanical and digital models) and a display unit for the home. The monitor is listed on the site at $149.99 and the display at $109.99, though it does not specify if the prices are in Canadian or US dollars.

It’s a pretty expensive device to install simply for the benefit of being able to see your energy use in real time, but there is more to this device that that. They claim that by being able to see your energy consumption in real time, the device can help “householders save from five to 20 percent on their monthly electricity bills” by showing the following:

  • The amount of electricity your home is using from
    moment to moment
  • The difference in electricity consumption caused by turning on and off the various electrical appliances in your home. The more electrical appliances you turn off, the lower the values displayed. The more appliances you turn on, the higher the values.
  • The total amount of money you are spending on electricity.

Depending on how much knowing how much electricity you are consuming motivates you to save energy in your house, this device could pay for itself in under a year if you are on the high end to several years if you are on the low end. This, of course, is assuming that you would use it and it wouldn’t sit there without anyone ever looking at it. For those that think you would, it may be worth investigating further.

By Tina Parcell