Thanks to researchers at MIT, there could soon be an easy way to figure out exactly how much power is being used by every appliance, lighting fixture, and device in a home. The new system will provide pinpoint accuracy and won't cost much, reports Science Daily.

While there are many devices on the market that monitor a home's electricity use, the MIT invention has some advantages including easy installation and quick, accurate operation. Data stays with the user, eliminating privacy concerns.

Tests of the system have showed its potential to save energy and greenhouse emissions -- and even to improve safety. One installation at a military base used for training exercises revealed that large tents were being heated all day during winter months, even though they were unoccupied for most of the daytime hours -- a significant waste of money and fuel (which, in a combat setting, could be an important logistical concern). Another test installation, in a home, found an anomalous voltage pattern that revealed a wiring flaw that caused some copper plumbing pipes to carry a potentially dangerous live voltage.

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