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    Entries in real-time energy use (3)



    Every so often, a new idea springs forth and we get to glimpse into what could be. I have stated on here before, and our original founder, Jay, has stated on here before that one of the biggest issues that is holding us back to truly mastering our energy consumption is real-time energy monitoring. Now, obviously, there are ramification to an electric company for truly offering this to their consumers, and their have been many products and ways to look at to monitor real time energy use.

    Even on this site alone, we have talked about this issue a few times, and different products. Jay even posted an unboxing of an Efergy E2. Yet, something then happened over the last couple years, well actually, two things happened over the last couple of years, that now has a direct effect on giving the power back to the consumer.

    The first thing that happened was the smartphone revolution. All of a sudden in the past couple of years everyone smartphones seemed to be readily available and accessible for everyone in almost every income bracket. They slowly started becoming part of our lives. Smartphones have changed the way we live and could very well change the way that we do small things around the house. We have been allowed to have a computer in the palm of our hand.

    The second thing that has happened is Kickstarter and the crowdfunding movement. These type of sites allow us as consumers to invest in ideas that we think that would better our lives. We don't have to depend on big banks, or large investors that may or may not get our idea, but we can pitch our idea to a plethora of like minded people, and let them decided if they like our idea. It is truly power to the people.

    That is where Wattvision comes in. Wattvision is a prototype real time energy meter that delivers real time energy use directly to your smartphone, and can determine how much energy a specific device in your house. I watched the video, and I was pretty impressed with what they are intending to do. You can check it out here.


    These guys also have some pedigree under their belt. They have also gained backing for this nifty solar energy charger called the Ready Set Solar Kit.I am excited to see if this project gets funded and where it goes from there. I think with enough people interested, and the correct roll out that this could be a game changer.


    ---Justin (link via Angie Fretz)


    What is a kilowatt-hour?!!!??! via Karen Stucke

    Let's talk about some definitions here. We are trying to save energy at our homes and trying to reduce that magical kW/h number. It's an easy concept, the number goes down over time, you are reducing your cost and increasing your efficiency. Here is the real question though, what exactly is you impact. What exactly is a kW/h?



    Now, a kilowatt/hour is 1000 watts of usage in one hour or 3.6 megajoules! Wow! That's a lot of megajoules right? Or is it a little bit of megajoules? What is a megajoule? What is a watt? Right, it is all confusing that can get to a bunch of scientific definitions, which I could go into with you, but that doesn't save you energy right? No. Not really. We want to express ideas into reality and real life applications. One 60 watt light bulb used to 1 hour is equivalent to .06 kilowatt/hour (i.e. (60W/1000)/1 hour, and 60 Watts being .06 kilowatts, because there are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt. So it would be 60/1000). You would have to leave that light on for about 16 hours and 40 minutes to get one measurable kilowatt hour (which is most if not all electricity companies charge you for).

    Now, I just gave you a bunch of math, and still it probably doesn't help you with day to day operations of how much energy you really use. So here is further research. Thanks to one of our readers out there, Karen, we have been supplied with an awesome link to see how equivalent energy is being used in your part of the country versus an amount of kilowatts. The Green Power Equivalency Calculator comes from United States Environmental Protection Agency, and is a quick and easy way to see how much Coal, Gas, or CO2 would be used with your kilowatts that you enter (you can pick any number that you want). The Calculator is supposed to figure out how much your "green" energy purchase through the EPA saves from going into the environment, but can be used as a reverse calculator of also telling you how much of the equivalents you just put into the environment.

    I used my last month's electricity bill and entered my 477 kw/hs for my region (region 21 ERCT according to the map on the page). I was then informed that my 477 kw/hs is equal to 242 kilograms of CO2 emission. Or equivilent CO2 emissions of 27 gallons of gasoline, .563 barrels of oil, 10.1 propane cylinders for BBQs, .001 railcar worth of coal, and .029 of the average American home in one year. Interesting stuff I say. It makes you get a better grasp of how much Carbon-Dioxide you are giving off into the air. I am not sure if I ever really answered what is a kilowatt-hour, but I hope I gave you a fun tool that can help you grasp it more...


    ---Justin J. Stewart (link via Karen Stucke)


    Belkin showing people how to conserve electricity at home with their new home energy lineup...

    Belkin, who leads the industry in, ummm...plugs, has introduced four new products to the market that will be available Mid-July. These are great products for people at home that are trying their best to reduce unwanted power vampires from their home.


    The first product is the Conserve Smart AV

    The Conserve Smart AV features a "green" outlet, in which you plug your television into, and in the other outlets you plug in the rest of your entertainment system. When the television is shut-off, the rest of the surge protector then powers down, reducing the energy usage of the rest of your entertainment center. It will retail for $29.99.

    The next up is Conserve Socket

    The Conserve Socket has a timer for your plug and automatically powers down the socket after that allotted time. The user can select from three settings, 30 minutes, 3 hours, or 6 hours. Perfect for those using a coffee maker in the morning, and always worrying about if you turned it off. The Conserve Socket will retail for $9.99.

    Next is the Conserve Valet

    The Conserve Valet is for all of us that have a lot of gadgets, which now a days seems to be more and more. It has four charging stations for your mp3 player, phone, or whatever other peripheral that you might have that can charge via USB hub. What is great about this product is that it will sense when your item is fully charged and shut-off the plug charging that item. No more cell phones charging on the kitchen counter for 14 hours anymore. The Conserve Valet will retail at $39.99.

    And last but not least, and what I find the most interesting The Conserve Insight

    The Conserve Insight excited me the most out of all of these products. The Conserve Insight will give you real-time information on how many watts a product that is plugged into it is using. It also tells you how much CO2 that a product is emitting, and the biggest feature to most will be this: The Conserve Insight will tell you how much money, in real time, that you are spending on keeping that device plugged in. This product will remove all of smoke and mirrors of trying to figure out how much electricity a device is really using. Knowledge is power, and given this knowledge you can figure out how to use your power. Then you can experiment with different power configurations for different devices (like maybe putting a surge protector on that microwave that you don't use the clock on it for anything). At $29.99 I feel that the cost could be made up in no time with the money you could save.

    These look to be exciting products for everyone, from the lazy man (the Conserve Smart AV), to the person that loves numbers (The Conserve Insight). I hope to get my hands on a few of them in Mid-July and let you know how they are, especially the Conserve Insight. If anyone else gets to try and of these out, let me know what you think!


    ***edit 6/22/10 received an e-mail from a reader that is suggesting some of the other Belkin's products as well that are already out:

    "We have a similar Belkin product. Power strip with wireless switch. ( and 2 switches that dont turn off if need be) . On our way to bed we hit the switch and it shuts down power for out big power sucking items. Love it!


    Thanks Nichole! Knowing that someone out there already loves part of the Conserve line by Belkin makes these that much more promising! Looks like these are quality products, and like I said, I hope to get one or a few of them in my hands in a month. ***


    ---Justin J. Stewart