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May 8, 2009

Energy Circle: Bringing the Abstract World of Energy Efficiency down to Earth. ~ via Paul Smith.

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.”

It is now sending out their realtime energy use, both to the web and on Twitter—along with humorous, humanizing commentary about what those jagged squiggles mean. Who couldn’t  relate with,

“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.

When you’re aware of your usage patterns and which thing uses how much, you can then make smarter choices, a knowledgeable base to start from. Their video on installing TED makes even someone as tool foolish as me want to do it: 

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. 

article via Paul Smith: I’m at GreenSmith Consulting and on Twitter 
Contact: email | 510 420 0878 or 530 852 7993
IM: aim – greensmithc | skype – soleus333 | GTalk – soleus

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