Home Energy Monitoring Systems

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By Tess Wittler

In the family of smart home learning technology, home energy monitoring systems are the granddaddy of tech, as they have been around for almost a decade. In January 2009, the government of Queensland, Australia began offering wireless energy monitors as part of its ClimateSmart Home Service program, and by August 2009, almost 100,000 homes had signed up. In 2013, the government of Victoria, Australia introduced a similar program to connect Zigbee-based In-Home Displays to Victorian Smart Meters.

Those are just a few of the many programs used around the globe to monitor energy consumption.[1] Since that time, several evolutions of existing products and new devices have come to market – adding more competition to a still-growing market.

 

Why monitor home energy?

 

Every day, hundreds of electronical systems help us create the lifestyle in which we live. This is more than gadgets and gizmos; we’ve come to rely on dozens of mechanical systems and appliances to keep us comfortable and our lives running smoothly. Those devices take energy, and with the rapid advancements of technology, many consumers want to see where their energy is being used. Not only does it bring out the science-geek in many of us, but it also helps us make informed decisions about what to repair and what to replace.

Additionally, energy is not limitless, and how electricity is produced can be controversial. Coal is dirty, oil and natural gas are not plentiful (and can be contentious topics, as well), nuclear scares people, and the cleaner options – wind, solar – aren’t competitive. Many consumers, particularly Millennials and Gen Zs, are concerned about significantly reducing their carbon footprint, and they are looking for products that can help them do so. This includes monitoring home energy.

 

How does home energy monitoring work?

 

Technically, home energy usage has been monitored for years, with the utility bill. But home energy monitoring goes much deeper by tracking energy consumption on specific appliances in use – ideally including every appliance in a home (depending on the system selected) – to help homeowners discover which ones are wasting energy.

 

Most Recognized Home Energy Monitors in 2018

 

Today, most home energy monitoring systems can be selected by the homeowner (and installed by a qualified electrician). With so many devices on the market, how do you know which one to recommend to your homeowners? Here are five of the most recognized names in home energy monitoring today.

  • Home Energy by Sense – The Sense monitor is easily installed to the electronic panel, and then homeowners download the Sense app to their mobile device and connect the monitor to Wi-Fi. Sense tracks the unique signal that each electronic device gives off and records them “millions of times per second.” Over time, it continues to discover devices, monitors them and tracks energy usage in real time.
  • Smappee – Smappee’s patented technology detects certain appliances, so consumers can discover how much energy is being used, including those that are usually difficult to monitor such as heat pumps and electric cars. Smappee can also monitor the production of solar energy to allow for better management of energy flow throughout the home.
  • W1 by Neurio – Neurio’s energy software “allows homeowners [to] see their energy usage and production in real-time [and] shows them how to save money each month.” It claims to help reduce home energy costs by up to 20% and provides utility bill forecasting. The device installs onto the electrical panel box, and consumers can monitor by desktop and/or mobile devices.
  • CURB – The CURB home energy system plugs into your home’s breaker panel to allow for real-time monitoring. It provides data to help you make smarter decisions about energy consumption and also makes personalized suggestions based on that data. Additionally, the system is compatible with other smart home devices and is solar-ready.
  • Nest – While not an all-encompassing home energy monitoring system, Nest is one of the most recognized products on the market. What began with a thermostat is now a growing line of products. The Nest thermostat can be controlled via your mobile device from anywhere, and the Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation) has smart technology that learns the temperature you prefer and then builds a schedule around it.

With dozens of options available and more being introduced every year, it can be difficult to know which ones to recommend to your home buying customers. The best approach is to listen to what specifically your homeowner wants to monitor and recommend a few that best fit their needs today – and in the long term – and keep abreast of this ever-evolving market.

[1] Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_energy_monitor

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