I love my Google account.  No matter where I am, I have access to my mail, calendar, documents, pictures and news.  The free tools (Analytics, Webmaster, Places, Maps…) have been invaluable in my job as DC Home Systems webmaster.  So, when I read a recent blog about ‘Google PowerMeter’ my curiosity was piqued. 

Google offers a free web based energy monitoring tool.

energy monitoring app

The site displays your energy consumption and related costs and allows you to view the data in a day, week or monthly view.  The program will calculate a projection of future consumption based on current trends.  Armed with this information you can input your desired consumption and track your progress to your budget goals.  And, as with all Google tools, you can communicate with others members of the PowerMeter community and utilize Google’s online help center.

Google PowerMeter interfaces with the meter data management systems of participating ‘Smart Grid’ utility companies (none in the North East unfortunately) as well as standalone energy tracking devices manufactured for in home use.  Current Cost, a UK based company, has a number of devices which display energy data on a portable, docked device that looks similar to the iPod classic.  TED (The Energy Detective) manufactures a similar line of displays (www.theenergydetective.com). One of the TED models allows you to monitor from both your electrical panel and your solar or wind inverter.  These devices are small, easy to install and quite inexpensive, most under $300. With one of these devices combined with Google PowerMeter, you are one more step down the path of reduced energy consumption.

And though I love my Google, those of you with or contemplating Crestron home systems should be aware that Crestron Green Light offers a more sophisticated monitoring, display and control option which monitors the dollars, energy(WH), power(W) and Carbon(lbs) associated with your electricity, gas, water and solar consumption. With this system, your motorized shades, lighting control and thermostat will automatically adjust based on the thresholds programmed for your budget. Now that’s a giant step in the green direction.