Google PowerMeter: Building on energy efficiency
In an earlier post, I had discussed the Microsoft Hohm which is Microsoft’s electricity consumption measurement tool to promote awareness of energy expenditure (and savings). On the same lines, here’s profiling Google Powermeter which is trying to create an energy efficient eco-system and raise awareness levels on energy usage across.
Google PowerMeter is a software application being developed by Google.org to help consumers track their home electricity usage. The development of the software is part of an effort by Google to invest in renewable energy, electricity grid upgrades and other measures that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Google PowerMeter will allow consumers to view their energy consumption from their iGoogle™ personalized homepage. Using information from energy-monitoring devices, Google PowerMeter helps consumers to save money and use less electricity. The open-source, standards-based Google PowerMeter API allows device manufacturers to build energy-monitoring products that work with Google PowerMeter. Google PowerMeter combined with TED 5000 (TED stands for “The Energy Detective”) from Energy Inc., which is an energy monitor that measures electricity usage in real-time, can help understand electricity usage to save energy and money.
The software will be able to record the user’s electricity usage in near real-time. Users would be able to track their electricity and gas use through a chart, and access that information from a widget on their iGoogle home page. It is hoped that this tool will raise the home-owner’s awareness of how much energy they use and make users more energy efficient. According to the company, if half of America’s homes’ energy use was cut by ten percent, it would equal taking eight million cars off the road. According to Google, there are approximately 40 million smart meters in use worldwide. By early 2009, approximately 7% of US homes had a smart meter installed.
What innovations such as the Microsoft Hohm and Google PowerMeter do is that it provides consumers the ability to monitor and manage their power use will save them energy and money. It will also unleash innovation in homes and businesses as new energy saving technologies and apps are developed.
Members of the Google PowerMeter team routinely compare their energy usage data and share energy saving tips and
suggestions with one another.For instance, by comparing his PowerMeter data with his friend’s data during a heat wave, a fellow Googler discovered that his home air-conditioning system was consuming much more energy than his friend’s system. The friend lives in the same area and in a similar sized house. By sharing this data, the Googler found out that his air conditioner was malfunctioning, and after making the necessary repairs, was able to reduce the amount he spends on electricity for air conditioning.