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Published on February 10th, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz

16

Google PowerMeter Will Provide Real-Time Home Energy Information on Your Computer



Google is persisting in its quest to change the way we live with the announcement earlier today of Google PowerMeter, a program that displays real-time information about home energy consumption on your computer.  The program is in closed beta right now, but Google hopes that it will eventually be distributed to anyone who has a smart meter.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/6Dx38hzRWDQ&hl=en&fs=1]

Photo CC-Licensed by Flickr user xx3734

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



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  • http://www.tendrilinc.com Marie

    Talk about a momentum booster. Google’s entrance into the smart grid conversation is great news all around, just as President Obama is turning up the volume on its importance as well. No one company or entity can tackle all the challenges around building the smart grid and populating it with smart meters. Google’s entrance into the conversation is not only a great complementary effort in providing consumers the tools they need to take charge of their energy consumption; it validates the issue. When Google speaks, people listen.

    It’s a piece of a larger platform approach—one that Tendril’s building out—that adds the necessary elements of consumer and utility control, in addition to device-level information, that enables a real-time dialogue between consumers and their energy provider. It’s great to see quickening momentum among vendors, utilities and consumers as we drive 21st century energy efficiency on the road to energy independence.

    Information is the key to change. Having Google throw their weight to drive real change is a huge win for the industry, for Tendril and for consumers.

  • http://www.tendrilinc.com Marie

    Talk about a momentum booster. Google’s entrance into the smart grid conversation is great news all around, just as President Obama is turning up the volume on its importance as well. No one company or entity can tackle all the challenges around building the smart grid and populating it with smart meters. Google’s entrance into the conversation is not only a great complementary effort in providing consumers the tools they need to take charge of their energy consumption; it validates the issue. When Google speaks, people listen.

    It’s a piece of a larger platform approach—one that Tendril’s building out—that adds the necessary elements of consumer and utility control, in addition to device-level information, that enables a real-time dialogue between consumers and their energy provider. It’s great to see quickening momentum among vendors, utilities and consumers as we drive 21st century energy efficiency on the road to energy independence.

    Information is the key to change. Having Google throw their weight to drive real change is a huge win for the industry, for Tendril and for consumers.

  • chrisp

    One other item that would be helpful on this software would be to show on the graph when the best times to run the heavy load items such as a dryer or dishwasher. The background would be a different color say from 7pm to 6am. I know this may not benefit the consumer because everyone pays the same rate no matter what time of day, but this would help the grid from not being over loaded during peak times. This is more of a manual smart grid.

  • chrisp

    One other item that would be helpful on this software would be to show on the graph when the best times to run the heavy load items such as a dryer or dishwasher. The background would be a different color say from 7pm to 6am. I know this may not benefit the consumer because everyone pays the same rate no matter what time of day, but this would help the grid from not being over loaded during peak times. This is more of a manual smart grid.

  • http://diy-energy-systems.ning.com/ Ken Moore

    An example of the importance of measurement is what I was able to achieve by placing a Scan Gauge II in my car. This device uses the car’s computer to calculate a number of things, but especially gas consumption.

    Watching it as I drove was shocking, even though I thought I drove reasonably. However, after using the device for a few weeks, i was able to measure the increased mileage I got from adjusting my driving habits.

    The PowerMeter should have the same effect, providing I can get everyone else in the household to buy into it. I suggest anyone using this device start by recording energy useage before changing habits. This will provide a baseline for proper comparisons. BTW, I think my Scan Gauge paid for itself in about 3 months, with reduced fuel costs. It will be interesting to see what the house energy does.

  • http://diy-energy-systems.ning.com/ Ken Moore

    An example of the importance of measurement is what I was able to achieve by placing a Scan Gauge II in my car. This device uses the car’s computer to calculate a number of things, but especially gas consumption.

    Watching it as I drove was shocking, even though I thought I drove reasonably. However, after using the device for a few weeks, i was able to measure the increased mileage I got from adjusting my driving habits.

    The PowerMeter should have the same effect, providing I can get everyone else in the household to buy into it. I suggest anyone using this device start by recording energy useage before changing habits. This will provide a baseline for proper comparisons. BTW, I think my Scan Gauge paid for itself in about 3 months, with reduced fuel costs. It will be interesting to see what the house energy does.

  • Frank Tank

    Here is a follow up to my own question about smart meters.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2009/01/pge_customer_questions_intelli.html

  • Frank Tank

    Here is a follow up to my own question about smart meters.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2009/01/pge_customer_questions_intelli.html

  • Ariel Schwartz

    @Frank – Actually, power companies around the world already offer smart meters to their customers for free. You may be next!

  • Ariel Schwartz

    @ chrisp – I’m not sure if the current version of the software allows for measuring of gas usage, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the feature ends up in future versions since many smart meters can interface with gas meters.

  • chrisp

    This is a good first step. It is true with any process… If you can’t measure it you cannot improve it. That way people can actually say we improved such and such % from yesterday or last week / month / year.

    One question… Will this also measure the gas usage from a home, therefore calculating the total energy used?

    From this data one can see the impact of improvements such as new light bulbs, efficient appliances, solar arrays AND simple old conservation.

    Good job Google!

    This should be also directed towards companies for buildings. They can use the information for ROI (return on investment) energy projects.

    Onward to a smarter grid!

  • chrisp

    This is a good first step. It is true with any process… If you can’t measure it you cannot improve it. That way people can actually say we improved such and such % from yesterday or last week / month / year.

    One question… Will this also measure the gas usage from a home, therefore calculating the total energy used?

    From this data one can see the impact of improvements such as new light bulbs, efficient appliances, solar arrays AND simple old conservation.

    Good job Google!

    This should be also directed towards companies for buildings. They can use the information for ROI (return on investment) energy projects.

    Onward to a smarter grid!

  • Frank Tank

    That is a helluva an idea. I would definitely use this program but I will have to look into what the “smart meter” is and how much that cost. Nothing comes free.

  • Frank Tank

    That is a helluva an idea. I would definitely use this program but I will have to look into what the “smart meter” is and how much that cost. Nothing comes free.

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