I’ve been talking about IS for sustainability for some time now, so I’m glad to see that Google is getting on board in the area of energy monitoring via Power Meter. Here’s the Google framing:
Our lack of knowledge about our own energy usage is a huge problem, but also a huge opportunity for us all to save money and fight global warming by reducing our power usage. Studies show that access to your household’s personal energy information is likely to save you between 5–15% on your monthly bill, and the potential impact of large numbers of people achieving similar efficiencies is even more exciting. For every six households that save 10% on electricity, for instance, we reduce carbon emissions as much as taking one conventional car off the road.
According to the U.S. Census there are about 128 million homes in the States, so the goal of 40 million smart meters set out by the Obama administration (smart meters unleash the full power of Google power meter) is about 30% of all homes – not bad. Next up: neighborhood energy olympics. You heard it here first.
One challenge that I see concerns granular usage data. Current devices for measuring local use (at a specific outlet in the home) such as Kill A Watt just provide a digital readout. This is 2009: we need a cheap wireless connection to centralize this data from around our home – maybe zigbee?