Saving Money, Saving our Earth
via Paul Smith
Earth Day has come and gone, along with many of the broad proclamations of businesses and resolutions by people.
But for some, living sustainably is more than a one-day self back patting exercise. Peter Troast and Lisa Fahay are partners both in life and business, running Energy Circle , a home energy efficiency ally and online store that grew out of their own experience in struggling, learning and eventually excelling at making their own house more energy efficient.
But they’re by no means done, and they had an idea that would both make them much more accountable, and serve as inspiration and learning for you and I: Starting on Earth Day, they hacked a TED (The Energy Detective), a home energy monitoring tool that, according to them, is “A real-time home electricity monitor that is the equivalent of a digital stethoscope.”
“Yes…our teenager consumed all the hot water for his shower and yes he missed his ride. (5.2kWh today / 0.65kW now)”
They combine both context and exact stats, bringing the abstract into the real world. Nice.
I learned in a recent radio interview with them that they’re incorporating the children in a pragmatic way: the kids get 50% of the energy savings as compared to the previous year, cash. Save the planet, use less resources? Bah! Get paid! I’m betting though that in the process of doing this, their curiosity about the broader context will grow, and that their interactions with friends will change too, spreading the benefits.
While things like Google Power Meter aren’t too far down the road, Energy Circle is interested in bringing the public several “right now” options to be able to take an active hand in making better choices when it comes to their house energy use, and making it doable for anyone, regardless of skill level.