Last night I was flipping through January's Popular Science and my eyes lit up on page 24. The title was "Knowledge is Power" and the topic was web-connected devices that track household electricity usage. If you've read our list of Energy Monitoring companies you know energy monitoring is one of Mapawatt's favorite topics. You can also find more information on the importance of energy monitoring in Part 2 of our Energy Tools for Newbies series.
The Popular Science article focused on three companies: The Energy Detective (TED 5000), EnergyHub, and Shaspa. The first two companies are on our list of energy monitoring companies, but this was the first time I had heard of Shaspa. The Popular Science article put them into three categories: Track, Control, and Play.
One of our most popular articles is on the TED 5000 (we are the second hit on Google for this topic). This is one of the only web-enabled electricity monitors that is currently available for purchase by individuals and two Mapawatt team members have them installed in their homes (a non-web-enabled whole home electricity monitor is the Black and Decker Power Monitor or Blueline PowerCost monitor).
I really like the TED 5000 product although I believe they are currently suffering from their own popularity, as their customer service and delivery times have really slowed as of late. They got a huge boost when Google picked them as the first device partner for the Google PowerMeter, which I use with my TED 5000. In fact, using the PowerMeter is the easiest way to see your home's real-time electricity usage with your iPhone.
The EnergyHub was just named one of Time Magazine's 50 best inventions and it looks very promising. Not only can it monitor energy, it can also control your thermostat and individual outlets. From EnergyHub's website:
EnergyHub 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.
It can communicate wirelessly with devices plugged into individual outlets and can control them as well. I'm not sure if there is a integrated whole home monitor with this product (or if you can only see electricity consumption for appliances that have the individual monitor plugged into the socket) and I'm wondering how expensive a full system will be, but it looks very promising. I do know that it is very important to see the whole home's usage, and it will be very difficult and expensive if the only way to see the whole home's usage is if you have to plug an EnergyHub device monitor in each outlet (and then you still have 240 V loads like the washer/dryer and AC to worry about)
It looks like EnergyHub will be partnering with Utilities, and I dont know if individuals will be able to purchase it separately from the Utility. A more in-depth report will be out once this product is fully released! If you are interested in the EnergyHub, check out our review of what I think could be a better (although more expensive) solution in Computerized Electricity Systems.
The last monitor Popular Science mentioned was Shaspa. Shaspa looks like a cross between the TED 5000 (from the display and whole-home monitoring POV) and the EnergyHub (from the control point of view). But it adds another layer to mix: integration with social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook (this makes us very excited) that has them calling it their Social Energy Meter. One of the Mapawatt team members is already sending Tweets from his TED 5000, but it required a little tweaking on his part. If an energy monitor already came equipped with easy integration to social websites, it would make it very easy for friends to compete on who can reduce the most energy in their homes! Like the EnergyHub, this product is not yet released so a more in-depth review will be coming in the near future.
In any case, it's very exciting to see all the products being released that will help users monitor, track, and control their electricity consumption! I'm interested to see how many consumers will go out and buy an electricity monitor on their own (like me) and how many will just wait for their Utility to provide it (have fun waiting!).
Do you currently have an energy monitor or are you looking at getting one of these?