I’m not really all that unhappy about the SmartMeter, per se, but there is something really strange about sharing your personal “usage information” with outside agencies. I’m sure the next step will be a report of our energy consumption by device, which will be really, really strange. “What in the world are they doing with that coffee maker?” I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
For several months our SmartMeter has been communicating with the PG&E MotherShip, gathering it’s statistics about our energy consumption, and now I have can easily go online and monitor our progress. Here’s the good news. Total energy consumption, gas and electric, we are using about 12% less than a home of similar size in our area. Here’s the bad news. We are using only 12% less than a home of similar size in our area. Back on Day 5 of No Impact Week I talked about some of our big projects and areas that we’re still working on. After several years of remodeling, reworking and updating, I was hoping for a lot more savings. As a famous frog once lamented, “It’s not easy being green.”
If I break out just the electric energy consumption we’re really doing a lot better, to the tune of 45.7% less than a comparable house, about $100 per month less. Very strong results there, but it looks like we’re higher than average for natural gas. I would expect this from our kitchen, since we switched to a gas range and do a lot of cooking, whereas most of the homes in the neighborhood use electric ranges. But when the old-school water heater died, we switched it out with a tank-less gas heater that’s supposed to be significantly more efficient. I’m not sure what appliance is using all the gas. Maybe a report by device would be helpful after all.
From articles like this one on EarthTechling, What Exactly is Home Energy Management it looks like internet based technology for monitoring and managing your personal energy consumption will be part of the Next Wave of mass sustainability, lead by giants like Google, Microsoft and GE – three names I don’t often say in the same sentence. We will probably get to use the alerts and analytical reports for free, as long as we allow their system to be connected to our SmartMeter data. I imagine Google using it the same way they use my internet surfing data, to create a marketing profile on new things to sell me.
I can hardly wait to be sending them my coffee maker usage data… or can I?