Making energy consumption transparent helps reducing energy waste

We all would like to save energy because we understand that we can not keep wasting our resources as we are doing now. The issue is that most energy bills are not itemized. We don't know how much energy has been spent by our light bulbs, or by our vacuum cleaner, or our refrigerator. Trying to reduce energy under these circumstances would be like trying to go on a diet without understanding the caloric contents of the food we eat. We would probably cut on vegetables and feast on chocolate.

There are several sites in internet that would keep track of your energy consumption, provided you have a sensor or a meter that can upload this information to their servers. I have installed at home a system which allows me to measure the energy consumption per circuit breaker. There are cloud services in the internet that would allow you to upload your consumption data, and would provide analytics and recommendations on making your home more energy efficient. Some examples are or My consumption values are uploaded every few minutes with a minute resolution to my account. The accompanying graphic visualization of the energy consumption is taken from my account and is for one recent Saturday.

The figure is for the circuit breaker that covers my living room, dining room and kitchen but without the electric range and oven. The regular bumps in the figure represent my refrigerator. It has some 3 cool down cycles every 2 hours and peaks at about 100W every cycle. On that Saturday I timed the use of electrical devices, this is why I know that the other peaks are when my microwave, kettle and vacuum cleaner were used.

What can we conclude from this picture? Will buying a new more efficient refrigerator help me reduce my energy consumption?. The conclusion here is that a large part of my energy consumption comes from my lamps. At some point in time I have above 400 W of consumption for a steady 2 hours. I have a total of 7 lamps, 4 of which use up to 4 high volt halogen light bulbs at 25W each. If I would replace these lamps with others that use only 3 LED light bulbs consuming 7W each I could bring my energy consumption for my lamps down to a maximum of 100W, without having an impact in my family lifestyle.

Note that you do not need to have special metering hardware installed to start investigating where your energy waste is coming from. There are some sites that allow you to measure and plot this by periodically entering your electricity meter values in a web site. One such site I know of in Switzerland is Oscar BKW

Now that I know what needs to be changed, the hardest part lies ahead of me. I will need to get my wife to a lamp store to select a model that fits her tastes. Next time you are at IKEA and see a couple looking critically at every lamp, that might be me :-)

Disclaimer: I work for Aizo which is the company that manufactures digitalstrom components.
Shared publiclyView activity