5. ENERGY MONITORING
Microsoft. Hohm is a new Web-based tool that enables homeowners to better understand their energy consumption. Using information from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy, the system analyzes a home’s energy usage and provides homeowners with personalized energy-saving recommendations. http://www.microsoft-hohm.com
Web-based monitoring programs that show real-time energy use are expected to go a long way toward helping change homeowners’ behavior and drive energy conservation, according to many green building pros. Several companies are betting on the trend, with product introductions including the Google PowerMeter
, Microsoft hohm
, and Wattvision
“With smart meters and grids, we’ll see that energy monitoring stuff is going to explode,” Koerner says. “It will be huge in the next year.”
GE, for example, will release a Home Energy Manager touchscreen device alongside the upcoming launch of its Smart Grid-enabled appliances. The availability of home-wired monitoring systems such as these also is growing, and manufacturers are reporting that the devices truly are impacting homeowner behavior.
Some production builders have already caught on to the trend. Pulte's Villa Trieste community of solar-powered homes in northwest Las Vegas features advanced meters that track energy use in real time, allowing the utility company to adjust energy output to the home during peak hours when the grid becomes strained.