The amount of energy we use at home is usually invisible—until we get a bill. New home-energy-management applications promise to change that.
<p> The amount of energy we use at home is usually invisible—until we get a bill. New home-energy-management applications promise to change that.</p><p> <b>Microsoft Hohm</b> Hohm is Microsoft’s lauded home-energy-management application. It shows you how much electricity you’re using and how you compare with your neighbors, and provides customized energy-saving recommendations (e.g., seal your ducts). It’s available for customers of Xcel Energy, Seattle City Light, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District—and anyone who buys certain third-party monitoring gadgets. Or you can visit the Hohm website and get an estimated energy report based on your zip code and home size.</p><p> <b>Google PowerMeter</b> PowerMeter is a free software application from Google that lets you view your home-energy use online, from anywhere. You have to have a smart meter to use it, though. In the United States, customers of San Diego Gas and Electric and Blue Ridge Electric are all set. Otherwise, you will have to wait for your utility to get you a smart meter, or buy one yourself.</p><p> <b>Tendril </b>Tendril makes a range of software applications and in-home devices that let you not only track your energy use, but also make rules to automate it. Don’t want to run the dryer during expensive peak-demand hours? Don’t want your bill to ever exceed a certain amount? Tendril’s gear can make it so. It can even manage your plug-in car and solar panels.</p><p> <em>Learn more about a silly but relevant controversy over smart meters <a href="http://www.good.is/index.php?p=54477">here</a>.</em></p><p> <em>photo credit <a href="http://www.tendrilinc.com/">Tendril</a></em></p>
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