Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Saving energy, in real time

Our local utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, just started a 500-household pilot program to install these devices.  We were chosen and this is our little real-time meter.  I am pretty good about saving energy.  This entire summer, I turned on the air conditioning only once.

The tech who installed this told me that my 0.3 kW baseline usage is the lowest he has seen.  When I turn on the TV and DVD player, it goes up to 0.6 kW.  Baseline + microwave oven = 2.0 kW.  Can you guess what I'll be doing for the rest of the evening?

Algorithms programmed into the device can guess which appliances are using how much energy.  A lady who watched 10 hours of TV everyday learned that she was spending $40 a month just from leaving the TV on.


Dogs OfWar said...

Nice! I used a Kill-A-Watt to measure a bunch of stuff but that required unplugging the thing to be measured and plugging the Kill-A-Watt in. That's not very effective for an entertainment center with a bunch of devices. This makes it so much easier and real time.

Lukas said...

Are you turning off at the wall things that have standby mode like TVs? Do your (US) power outlets even have switches on them?

Maxichamp said...

@Lukas: I don't know. At 0.3kW, the following are plugged in but not on, in addition to the fridge, modem, and router: 3 lamps, a desktop computer, TV, and DVD player.

I am so energy conscious now I am considering using candles at night.

Alan said...

I saw a $30 decrease in my bill simply by switching off the power strip that powers my TV and PS3 when not in use - crazy.

10 hours per day of TV is just sad.

Lukas said...

I'd try unplugging the TV and DVD and seeing if it makes any difference. There's some interesting stuff about it here:

Re candles: I think the soot will eventually blacken your ceilings. Have you changed the bulbs to CFLs or LEDs?

Anonymous said...

I know you were joking about candles, but probably it is A LOT cheaper to use CFLs or LEDs than candles. Just sayin' :)

Anonymous said...

And yeah - PS3 is using ridiculous amount of power when on standby. Something around 12 watts. You could power decent CFL on that! It uses around 200 watts when in use and around 150W when on idle in menu. But you know, it's worth it.
Results may vary. I gave you numbers on older (not slim) model.