A recent New York Times article reported that 75% of Americans use mobile devices during bathroom breaks. The number rises to a whopping 91% when you consider those aged among 28-35. The point I’m trying to make, we have a major obsession with our iPhones, Droids and the other not so recognizable smartphone brands. In fact, I can relate. My lunch routine consists of last night’s leftovers (occasionally I go out for Pho) accompanied by a friendly poker tourney via my Texas Hold’em iPhone app.
So how does this relate to energy efficiency? Well, smartphones are more than gateways to ill tempered birds and peer peeping, they provide practical energy efficiency solutions. For the sake of this article, we’ll dive into how Energy UFO can make you an energy efficiency savant.
The Energy UFO app by Visible Energy provides visual data of the real-time energy consumption and the related costs of the devices plugged into a Wi-Fi enabled UFO Power Center, a four outlet smart power strip. Not only does it provide visual feedback, but it allows you to remotely kill the power of devices that are consuming standby power (often referred to as vampire power). Zapping unnecessary vampire power can reduce your current power bill by nearly 10% a month. On the flipside, you can turn on lights plugged into the UFO Power Center before you pull in the driveway. In a nutshell, Energy UFO transforms your smartphone (or tablet) into a remote device that allows you to monitor and regulate your energy consumption at home, even when you’re using the “facilities” at work.
As you might imagine, Energy UFO isn’t the only player in the market. GE has the Nucleus. And Control 4 has a line of “home smart home” devices and apps. Each manufacturer offers a free app. However, the devices that interface with the app vary in price depending on your specific need.
If you currently use or have had any experience with energy efficiency apps on your mobile devices, we’d like to hear about it.
Article by Billy Draper, appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.