It is no longer a question “if” people want to use less energy and water. People do. They want lower energy and water bills. But it isn’t always easy to know what to do that will have the biggest impact. Frankly, it is tough to know how much energy and water we use for the different choices and actions we have during the day. That is why energy and water monitors can be so powerful. When we only receive monthly bills (and usually a month or two after the usage), it is not clear what actions or behavior resulted in what usage. However, by having the information displayed in real time during our usage, we can make better choices. It is sort of like the dashboard of my Prius. When I first started driving, I was only averaging 38mpg. But once I started paying attention to the dashboard and saw how my speed and timing of the gas and brake pedals adjusted my mileage in real time, I learned how to use less gas. Now my average is about 45mpg. (although Kevin still beats me fairly regularly in our game of who can get the highest mpg)
The information can be displayed on a monitor that is easily readable on a daily basis. It could be in a high-traffic kitchen, or lounge or office. Or it can be accessed on your computer whether you are home, or you can even check in when you are at the office and see what energy and water the kids are using at home. In real time.
In the Smart Home: Green + Wired, we used a Building Dashboard system by Lucid and had it displayed in the lounge space, but wired such that it could be accessible from other portions of the home as well – in the office, or even on one’s iphone.
(photos by JB Spector / Museum of Science + Industry)
Luckily, a bunch of companies are getting into the Smart Home dashboard game. So hopefully they will become less expensive and more universal. Companies like Intel, Apple , Greenbox, Agilewaves, and Onzo offer you different choices (each with different pros and cons), and hopefully very soon, lower price points as well.