From whole-house systems to their off-the-shelf counterparts, devices that monitor home energy use are becoming more important and useful than ever. As prices increase along with our desire to conserve energy and lower our carbon footprint, energy monitoring devices can turn what you think into what you know.
Today, smart monitoring technology not only reveals the amount of energy you’re using—right down to the specific appliance and power source including solar—it can also be checked on and controlled remotely.
Energy monitoring equipment provides a way to identify where and when power is being drawn, and the amount of energy being used. As “time of day” pricing is employed, the “when” gives you an opportunity to schedule tasks like laundry, running the dishwasher and using other appliances and electronics during off-peak times. The “where” pinpoints the appliance, heating/cooling system, or electronics that are drawing energy. This information enables you to make adjustments, replace old, inefficient appliances, set reminders or timers to help lower your energy waste and costs, as well as your carbon footprint.
In an October 17, 2018 blog—Putting the “Power” in the Hands of the Homeowner—we wrote about the energy monitoring device installed in our first certified Passive House. After just 30 days using the sophisticated technology, the homeowners were able to make simple changes that significantly improved their home’s energy performance. They switched to power strips to make turning off more than one item easier. Unplugging the TV and stereo showed a near-immediate 30% drop in the amount of power drawn in that room. For that project, we used the PowerWise SiteSage monitoring technology, connecting it to the existing electrical panel.
Since that time, advancements in energy monitoring devices, software and smart electrical panels have been exponential. Systems like LumenCache and SPAN® serve as the electrical panel for the home and feature sophisticated monitoring and control technologies. These can be installed in new construction or existing homes when a whole-house electrical system update is desired.
More feasible for some are monitoring systems like Sense and Neurio that can be purchased online or at home improvement and electronics stores. These types of home energy monitoring and management devices provide real-time energy usage to equip homeowners with data to make smarter energy decisions. The Information can be stored on a cloud-based platform, and be accessed via smartphone or any internet connected device.
There are also ways to check up on your energy usage through your power provider. PG&E offers a number of resources that help you understand the biggest energy users in your home as well as monitor and manage your energy use. This can be a great alternative for renters or homeowners who want to get an initial read on their energy use, for example.
An overarching goal for Carmel Building & Design is to reduce carbon emissions that lead to climate change by making homes smarter and more energy efficient. A first step is to reduce your overall energy consumption and switch to electric appliances and mechanical systems wherever possible. Electricity is the only power that can be produced by renewable resources such as solar. Learn more about electricity from renewable resources provided by Central Coast Community Energy through PG&E.
It’s important to talk to your contractor, electrician or power provider to see which type of energy monitoring and management technology is right for your home. Some systems can track energy use provided by all power sources including solar, gas and electric, others are connected directly to your electrical panel.
A central focus of Carmel Building and Design is to reduce the energy demands of the homes we build and remodel to the point where the remaining energy needs can be met with onsite renewable sources such as solar. We have the know-how, resources, materials, technologies and growing body of experience to apply these strategies to any type of project. And, it’s simply the right thing to do.
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