About 20 months ago, I blogged about a friend in Palo Alto who had received a summary comparing her electric use to her neighbors and last summer my house got a smart meter with the promise that, at some point, we were going to get access to our energy usage information via the Internet “to better manage my energy costs.”
Well, that day has arrived (sort of) and, frankly, I don’t have the tools to manage my costs but now I feel like an underachiever.
Our “energy report card” came in the mail and you can see, my family is somewhere in the middle when compared to my more efficient and less efficient neighbors. Apparently, if we only could have matched the efficient neighbors, we’d have saved over $400 last year. That sounds nice, but other than giving me three canned suggestions (or did they know we have an old basement fridge?), I’m not sure knowing how my usage compares really does for me.
Despite all the LED bulbs I’ve replaced (and I still have plenty of incandescents I’m waiting on to burn out), insulation, a new fridge and microwave and dishwasher, and timers, I still need to invest more time and money in energy efficient appliances and use them more intelligently – no meter is going to remind my family to turn off the lights when we leave a room or not stand with the fridge open. It is the human element that needs to get smarter.
Thus far, I just feel like my neighbors are looking at me and saying, “he’s the one who leaves his porch lights on all night – D+!” What about you? Did you get one of these? what are you doing with the information?