I’ve been mulling this idea over for a long time, through a bunch of iterations. Generally, the more I have thought about it the cheaper and more realistic the idea has become.
I want to know what electricity is costing me. Like now – this minute, based on what I am doing. A few months ago I thought I needed to know what each appliance in my home cost me – but I don’t, really. If I can tell that I am spending $x/hour more when doing laundry than when not doing laundry, I have a good idea what doing laundry costs me.
We don’t get that granularity on our electric bill (but wouldn’t it be interesting to see an electric bill detailed like youe phone bill?)
Anyway, I’ve simplified my idea, and think I now have an idea for a system that could run under $100 if mass produced.
Imagine a device that was placed on your electric meter. It has WiFi wireless networking built it, and it can talk to your home network, and through that network to the Internet. It “knows” based on connecting with a centralized server, what a Kilowatt of energy is costing you today.
So as you use energy, the results are fed back through your wireless network to software running on your PC as a service (meening it is always running – an application you don’t have to launch).
The service collates your energy usage and reports it to a standard application that shows you your real time energy usage – so far this month, in dollars per hour right now, etc.
And it tracks historical data – so you can look at trends in enrgy peaks, and try to adjust your conumption to lower you rates during those times.
I think it would be a very cool product that would not only be useful, but environmentaly beneficial. Electricity is an almost invisible expence in my house. It’s hard to tell where the dollars go, or when we are spending them.