Posts Tagged ‘home energy management’
» posted on Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 at 10:40 am by Woody Wilson viewed 1,527 times
By Maisie Ramsay
GE has unveiled a Zigbee-compliant in-home energy monitor that transmits real-time energy consumption data to computers and smartphones. The Nucleus communicates with smart meters to collect and store real-time household electricity consumption and pricing data for up to three years.
“Currently consumers have little more than a monthly utility bill to determine what they’re using and spending,” said Dave McCalpin, manager of GE’s Home Energy Management, in a statement. “[GE's Nucleus] serves as the command center for energy and cost conscious homeowners to make smarter, more informed decisions.”
The Nucleus is expected to be available for consumer purchase in early 2011 at an estimated retail price of $149-$199. GE will launch computer software and a smartphone app for the device.
U.S. utilities are expected to install more than 400 million smart meters by 2012 as part of an effort to make the country’s aging electric grid more efficient, according to estimates provided by GE. The meters allow utility companies to charge time-of-use rates for electricity throughout the day. When demand is low, electricity will cost less, and when demand is at its peak, utilities will charge more to encourage off-peak consumption.
The Nucleus is targeted at helping consumers take advantage of off-peak rates and is the first product in GE’s Brillion lineup of smart home energy management products. Future options in the Brillion lineup will include alerts to assist consumers with daily tasks, such as when to change the refrigerator’s water filter or when the dryer cycle ends. Software upgrades will further enable Nucleus to monitor water, natural gas, and renewable energy sources, as well as plug-in electric vehicle charging.
BY JOHN COX, Californian staff writer
email@example.com | Saturday, Jun 05 2010 12:00 PM
Short of buying solar panels or a new air conditioner, Rosedale homeowner Clint Phillips has done just about all he can do to control his summer electric bills without sacrificing his family’s comfort.
Some of the steps he has taken — such as analyzing his online SmartMeter data, and signing up for a “SmartRate” plan — came courtesy of his electricity provider, Pacific Gas and Electric Co.
Other measures he more or less invented himself. Instead of leaving on his coffee maker for two hours a day (at a cost of $25 a month), he pours it into a thermos as soon as it’s brewed. He also lowers his air conditioner to 72 degrees at about 5 a.m., then at 2 p.m. he lowers it to 80 degrees, thereby reducing his total monthly usage by as much as 15 percent.
Phillips said his monthly bill of about $550 in peak summer heat hasn’t gone down noticeably, probably because of PG&E’s periodic rate increases. But his bills haven’t gone up, either.
“I think I have done what I can do,” he said confidently.
Here’s How To Save Up To 50% Each Month On Your Home Utility Bills Without Installing Solar Panels Or A Wind Generator!:Save on Home Energy
Energy efficiency is the other side of Bakersfield’s struggle with steep electric bills. Much attention recently has focused on problems with PG&E SmartMeters, the way its tiered rate structure has grown increasingly lopsided, and the ever-rising costs that are passed on to PG&E’s customers.
But one thing the utility and its critics agree on is that ratepayers can and do save money when they reduce their energy consumption.
As Phillips’ case illustrates, there are many things even the most frugal people can do to keep down their energy costs, often with PG&E’s direct assistance.
Spending to save money
Investing in energy-efficient appliances helps, too, as the experience of Bakersfield retiree Bruce Rapp shows.
When his 3,300-square-foot home was being built in 2002, Rapp bought a high-efficiency air-conditioning system, a whole house fan to make the most of cool morning air, and had only fluorescent lights installed. He also spent big on an energy-saving washer and dryer.
Now his bills run about $400 a month in the summer. And although he said he probably could afford to pay more, having invested wisely over the years, he doesn’t want to.
“If I got a choice between sending my money to PG&E or going out to dinner,” he said, “I’m going out to dinner.”
Help from PG&E
PG&E offers various programs and services to help its customers reduce their usage, from incentives designed to lower consumption at times of peak demand, to a new option that allows the company to turn down air-conditioners remotely.
Free home energy audits are available, too. When customers request one (by calling 800-743-5000), the company sends out an inspector who tours the home looking at things like attic insulation, air-conditioning units and pool pumps.
“Basically, it’s an evaluation of your home’s energy efficiency,” local PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said. “They can be pretty in-depth.”
The inspector’s recommendations can be wide-ranging, and may include investment suggestions. Boyles said there’s no obligation to carry out any changes.
“It’s just basically someone saying, ‘If you’re looking at your home energy bill, this is some stuff I’d do,’” he said.
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Saving the planet
Some efficiency improvements are simple, like unplugging appliances that use energy even when they’re turned off.
“Anything with an AC adapter, anything with a clock or a light, anything that uses electricity should be put on a power strip and turned off when not in use,” Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for The Utility Reform Network, a San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group, wrote in an e-mail.
She added that an estimated 5 percent of the nation’s electricity usage is wasted on stand-by power.
“Simple conservation measure(s) can help consumers save money — and the planet,” she wrote.
» posted on Friday, May 28th, 2010 at 12:30 am by Woody Wilson viewed 271 times
Posted : Thu, 27 May 2010 09:00:51 GMT
Author : Pike Research
» posted on Friday, May 28th, 2010 at 12:13 am by Woody Wilson viewed 314 times
May 26, 2010
More than 60 million U.S. homeowners, by simply typing in their address, can now see how their energy efficiency compares with others in their neighborhood or state.
Microsoft Hohm, a free online service that gives tips on how to boost home efficiency, announced Wednesday a new feature that scores homes nationwide. Its estimates are based on public information about a home’s size, age and location and other data on an area’s typical weather and utility bills.
“The big deal here is that we built the Hohm Score to answer a simple question: Am I an energy hog or an energy miser?” Troy Batterberry, Hohm Score’s general manager, says in the announcement.
This new tool comes as companies increasingly compete in the home energy market, either by offering smart meters that connect a home’s appliances or — like Hohm and Google’s PowerMeter — online services.
Which states have the most and least efficient homes?
The average Hohm Score is 61, based on a 1-100 scale. Homes in Hawaii top the list, with an 81, followed by those in Delaware and Maryland (each 70), District of Columbia (68) and New Jersey (67.)
The lowest score went to homes in Texas, Tennessee and Nevada, each with a score of 51, followed by those in Oklahoma (52) and Arkansas (53.)
The scores are estimates unless a homeowner inputs more detailed information, which allows Hohm to provide customized tips for conserving energy such as caulking windows or adding insulation.
Consumers can automatically link their energy bills to a private Hohm page if they’re served by these utilities: Seattle City Light, Sacramento (Calif.) Municipal Utility District, and Xcel Energy (eight states in the Midwest and West.)
“Someone could easily save $200, $300, $400 a year just by taking advantage of some of the more basic recommendations we offer you with Hohm,” Batterberry says in the announcement.
Hohm charges nothing for its reports, but it may at some point start charging contractors for consumer referrals and utilities for its software, Marja Koopmans told Green House in a March interview. Koopmans is general manager of marketing for Microsoft’s start-up business group, which includes Hohm.