I wrote about Opower almost 2 years ago, a company which is working to reduce energy use by simply making people more aware of what they use in comparison with others. At the time of that post, they seemed mostly focused on working directly with utilities, and sending out reports to customers showing them how their energy use compared to similar homes in their area. The idea seems to be that if you are at all conservation & efficiency minded, seeing where you are in relation to others may actually encourage you to do even better. They track the results, and apparently, it works. However, that method works only if the utility is on board to provide the data. Continue reading
Ok, so I have a problem; a measurement & charting problem. The first step is to admit you have a problem; but I don’t yet want to change, it’s too much fun! Continue reading
I love it when device manufacturers realize that they can do well by selling a device with documented interfaces, in the hopes that a nebulous community of hackers will invent cool new things for it. So I was pretty happy when the Radio Thermostat Company of America announced that they had an API available for their wifi thermostats (such as the 3M-50 at Home Depot or the CT-30 [amzn] at Amazon). Continue reading
In an earlier post I had tried out a few ways to figure out if our energy-saving efforts with respect to natural gas use were paying off; I did a few bar graphs of therms per day, per heating degree day, rolling yearly averages, etc. I knew that I needed to normalize for the weather using Heating Degree Days, since natural gas is our primary heating fuel, and I probably needed to find a way to separate space heating from water heating, which have different conservation methods, and which may or may not be weather dependent. Continue reading
Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Efficiency — power is ever stealing [into your home]. — Me, with apologies to Wendell Phillips, Thomas Jefferson, or whoever said it first.
Ever wonder what the energy flow through a net meter looks like when you have solar on your house? No? Well, if you did, take a gander at the graphs above (click for a bigger version). Continue reading
Well, they did it. Google killed PowerMeter.
This is lame. I mean – really, really lame. After signing up hardware partners and gathering a good number of users, google.org, “the philanthropical wing of Google” has killed PowerMeter, because, well, I guess because it wasn’t satisfying their philanthropical urges anymore?
Surely this doesn’t cost them more than a tiny fraction of their total pot of more-money-than-God. Development already stopped months (years?) ago. Why not just let it run for those who found it useful? I actually really appreciated being able to see details of my power use. It helped me make better decisions.
At least they have an exit plan to let users extract their data before they throw the big red switch. If only there were somewhere else to send it.
Powermeter wasn’t great, but it was much better than nothing. I hope something will come up to replace it. Anyone know of a good alternative?