Energy monitoring is a big business. In fact, a recent study found that almost one third of all American households are now equipped with a smart meter that allows utilities to manage peak energy demands more efficiently and help households save cash. Smart thermostats like the Nest, Ecobee, and SilverStat, take the idea a step further by allowing consumers to access information about how much energy they’re using almost instantly.
While all that extra information is interesting and helps keeping energy consumption front and center in our minds, it stops short of actually sparking a change in behavior. That’s the gap that EnergySaver, the latest mobile app from The Raj Organization, hopes to fill.
EnergySaver uses a “profile-analyze-save” approach to educate users about the energy consumption and related cost of each of their household appliances/devices based on their actual usage (not estimates or unrealistic algorithms). Instead of just tracking overall consumption, the app allows users to input their actual utility rates and pinpoint the appliances that are costing them the most money.
One especially unique feature of the app is the ability to differentiate phantom loads, also known as “vampire power consumption” from energy consumed when the appliance is actually being used. Phantom loads are the electricity consumed by an appliance that is plugged in but may not be turned on. Since 10 percent of all residential electricity use comes from phantom loads, being able to eliminate this wasteful consumption can have a big impact on energy bills.
The app is fairly new so there aren’t that many user reviews to gauge how well it lives up to the organization’s money-saving claims. Some users indicate that entering in each appliance is a bit tedious and they’d rather be able to lump similar items, like light bulbs or television sets, together. It’s easy to see how this would soon dilute the predictive that makes the app cool in the first place.