What Is Energy Management?

May 01, 2009

Ever wonder how your electric bills never seem to decrease ‘that’ much while you are doing all of the recommended changes to your home including switching all lights to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), weather stripping around all doors and windows, turning off all lights and electricity consuming devices, and the list goes on. If only you could monitor your electric usage like you monitor the fuel in your car. Now you can through power management with real-time feedback devices.

Power management is the practice of effectively managing the power in your home by using specific tools and implementing simple energy-saving actions.

Power management is a way to effectively combat home electronics products, among others, that use the majority of their power when they are actually turned off. By using an energy monitor, you can manage your home’s power consumption.

By investing in an energy monitor, homeowners can analyze how much electricity is being used and when. So they can effectively cut down on how much electricity they use during peak hours when electricity is most expensive. The monitors work through sensors attached to the electric meter that sends a wireless signal to an in-home display. Consumers can watch the monitor and adjust their energy usage according to the activities at that time. If they adjust what and when they are doing in energy-consuming activities, they can see immediately how much they are paying at that time for energy usage.

Some monitors can get more fine-tuned feedback in individual systems or resources like gas, water and electric loads, rooms or floors of the home. Homeowners can operate and manage their home’s energy use through the traditional touch screen panel or through web-based services or even on cell phones or mobile devices.

The drawback to the energy monitors is the initial cost. While some are relatively inexpensive starting at around $100 for a simple monitor, a whole house system can run several thousand dollars.

Several utility companies are installing “smart meters” that provide two-way communication between the home and electric provider. The meters allow the utility company to enable load-management efforts where they can shut-down certain appliances at high energy peaks.

Whether or not an energy monitor is for you, it is a technology that is coming soon to a town near you if not yours. It may or may not benefit your lifestyle, but most likely it will.

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