For those unaware, Microsoft Hohm is an online service that allows consumers to see how much electrical power and gas they use in a given month, with suggestions on how to lower their consumption.
Microsoft recently updated this application with some new features including information pages covering every zip code in the United States and two dozen behavior recommendations for those who take the time to create a Hohm energy profile. Hohm also now features an energy breakdown dashboard that provides more detailed information about where your household is using the most energy.
Microsoft is not the only company getting in on home energy efficiency. A group of appliance and energy companies including Best Buy, Direct Energy, Lennox International, OpenPeak and Whirlpool are working on something called the Home Energy Management Center. What makes this effort unique is that it will be focused on homes of all income levels as opposed to the middle or upper class approach that most other companies are taking.
The Home Energy Management Center is being described as a “command center” for the smart home. It will also provide access to news, weather, social networking, music and movie applications and allow them to manage their energy consumption according to certain predetermined budget levels or operating limits. It is estimated that consumers will be able to save up to 25 percent per month on their energy bill.
EcoFactor is another company that is taking a very unique approach to home energy efficiency. The system EcoFactor is working on will combine your home energy consumption with information about environmental conditions. The idea behind this system is that the consumer does not necessarily want the temperature of their house set to the same level everyday. The temperature outside may not change very much day to day, but the same temperature can feel different depending on the moisture in the air.
These are just a few of the companies that are working hard to cut down home energy consumption. Hopefully, in the coming years the wide variety of systems being will make it possible for everyone to monitor their energy usage regardless of whether or not they can afford home automation.
Richard Moyle works for Horizon Window Treatments in New York City.
photo: Jeremy Levine Design