Why should I monitor my energy usage?

The biggest question many professionals and consumers alike have about energy monitoring is whether or not it actually works. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently conducted a home electricity use study. This study looked at various factors, one of which was the home energy monitor. They found that using an energy monitor could result in savings of 8-25%. EPRI conducted further research into this area and concluded that these energy monitoring devices could save up to 20%. Further research conducted at Oxford University found that real-time energy monitoring can help users cut their energy bills by 5-15%. According to ACEEE the saving could reach 12%. If you average these studies together you are looking at a savings of 6-18%.

According to Energy Star the average energy bill is $2,200 a year. At this rate you would expect to see a monthly energy bill of $183.33. Obviously there would be some fluctuation based on the seasons but this is the average. At a savings of 6-18% you could expect to see $11-$33 a month, or up to $396 saved a year! Minimally energy monitoring results in $132 in savings annually. Most customers that are interested in energy monitoring are looking for a reasonable return on investment, considering the minimum savings an effective energy monitor should not cost more than $132.

There is a wide range of monitors available on the market, many of which meet this criteria. One in particular that has sold over a million units is the Envi home energy monitor. The Envi utilizes CT clamps attached at the electrical panel and since it does not interface with the meter the chances of it not being compatible are almost non-existent. If you come into contact with a customer interested in monitoring their energy present them with the facts. 6-18% is a considerable amount of savings.

Silas Inman
Forward Energy Solutions, Inc.
Sustaining Tomorrow with Energy Solutions Today

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Tags: conservation, energy, management, monitoring


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Comment by Silas Inman on November 11, 2010 at 7:23am
The Envi my company sales is actually a device for Google PowerMeter. Not a bad free software.

There are multiple ways that having real-time information can help you lower your use and costs. It helps you make sure that everything is off before you leave the house or go to bed, ensuring you are using the least amount of energy possible, just a quick glance assure this, a lot better then going around to the 30+ devices that are usually on and assuring each is off. It detects faulty appliances and even if you need to change the filter in your HVAC, you can actually track the efficiency getting worse as the filter ages.

The list goes on. I have written several blog entries about how you can use real-time monitoring in various ways. I may be up to 50 or so entries at this point.
Comment by Glen Gallo on November 10, 2010 at 8:03pm
I am lucky as I am in the test pilot area of Google Power Meter. I can see my usage daily. Heck I can see when my wife turns on the vacuum.

The question is what do we do with this information and how can it help our customers?

I think it provides a great insight to daily usage and behavior patterns of occupants.

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