Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Monitoring your electric usage


The August 2007 issue of Wired magazine had a short article titled, "Psst! You're Wasting Electricity". This article made mention of a new product being produced by the UK design firm DIY Kyoto. This product, known as the Wattson, is a wireless, Internet-enabled, device which monitors your electrical usage. You can compare your usage with other Wattson users on the web. You can also view historical graphs of your usage. Pretty darn slick. Unfortunately it is uncertain how long before this product is available over here.

I reported on a similar product earlier this year known as the PowerCost Monitor. The advantage of the Wattson over the PowerCost Monitor is the ability to view historical data and upload to the web. The PowerCost Monitor merely shows real time usage and the past 24 hour summary.

Another low cost monitor which has been mentioned in Wired in the past is the Energyjoule. This is basically a night light which shows current usage and energy cost. It also changes color as the cost of energy changes throughout the day. Interesting, but not terribly useful. This said, Ambient Devices has some pretty cool devices such as the Energy Orb which was used in California to give consumers a visual cue that they needed to turn off electrical devices.

I guess I will have to wait for the Wattson or perhaps someone sharp cookie here in the US will design and build something similar.


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