The Greenest Energy is the Energy That We Do Not Use
It seems like everyone is complaining about the size of their monthly electric bill, from companies to homeowners to renters. But how many people actually have an idea how they accrued their kWh (kilowatt hours), and even more importantly, what they can do about lowering them?
The solution is getting insight and control over our plug loads – the amount of energy consumed by our plugged-in devices. In the United States an estimated $10 billion (100 billion kWh) per year is wasted on appliances that are left on, or that are left plugged in, all the while consuming energy. Standby power consumption single handedly contributes to 10% of residential use nationally, and more than half of all the energy used in buildings is outside of office hours, which tells you that our systems and habits are simply not efficient.
In 2007 Plugwise launched their first smart-plug in The Netherlands, and buildings and houses using the devices were quickly seeing plug loads drop by up to 50%. Although widely used and praised throughout Europe, Plugwise products have not been available to Americans until now, via their California distributor kWh Power.(http://www.kwhpower.com)
“We don’t realize what it costs to leave devices plugged in. From phone chargers to home entertainment and lighting systems – even when you are not using them they are consuming energy. People are basically burning money without realizing it,” says Derek Fehmers of kWh Power.
Plugwise products help consumers and businesses save money by using a simple interface accessible via smart phone or browser that shows how much energy appliances are using and what this costs per hour. The user plugs their device into a Plugwise smart-plug, and a wireless system relays all information to the software. The software then allows users to program the plugs to turn off automatically when in standby-mode, or on set schedules. The plugs will be available at major retailers and can be purchased on the kWh Power website at a cost of $50 per unit, yielding a return on investment of 4-8 months.
In the next couple of months new products will be released that work together with the smart-plugs, including motion detectors that can trigger plugs and lights to turn on or off, wall switches that wirelessly communicate with the plugs, as well as temperature and humidity sensors that can trigger A/C and space heater units based on occupancy and presence in a room.
All of you that have solar panels installed for your home. The combination of generating your own power, knowing the amount of energy you are producing, and seeing how that energy gets distributed amongst the appliances in key to understanding your system. Plugwise has the unique ability to measure in-and-output, so it will tell you what your plugs are using in terms of energy, but also what is coming in if you are generating your own power.
Plugwise …. as the green future unfolds.