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Conservation tip: Measure your energy use


Real time feedback in a car can change your driving patterns. What about your house?

Many users of Prius’ and other hybrids report that simply having the fuel efficiency counter on the dash has changed their driving behavior. What used to be a “get there as soon as possible” task is now turned into a “get there with the highest MPG” task. Pretty cool.

The same promise has been around for decades in energy, generally referred to as “smart metering“. Instead of the useless twirly-whirl sitting behind the bushes outside, energy experts envision placing a real time meter in the kitchen that shows real time cost data. One day it may even display differential pricing, encouraging you run the dishwasher while you sleep, instead of in the middle of the day. There’s a nifty case study on the Bayard/Ampy website if you want to learn more.

kill a watt

Inexpensive consumer tools can let you play the role of energy detective around your house

But, let’s face it. Your utility moves at the pace of molasses in Mongolia. You don’t have one of these fancy meters and you want one. Well, there are now quite a few solutions, such as the Killawatt, available for under $30 that will help you measure energy consumption. They’re not perfect, but they will get you most of the way there.

I’m testing one of these and hope to report back in a few weeks with my experiences. Any TerraPass members have one and care to share?

There’s an old business cliche: you can’t manage it if you don’t measure it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to measure that VCR that never gets used…

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