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In other articles I've discussed that the first step to becoming more energy efficient and planning for renewable energy system implementation is to know exactly what you are consuming.  Once you are able to fully understand your consumption habits, it's easy to "pick the low hanging fruit" and make some rather drastic changes that are better for the environment and your wallet.

In our home, we've made some changes to reduce our energy consumption and have seen some encouraging results.  Our second step is now to pin point exactly where our current reduced electric loads are coming from and to fine tune them before planning for a renewable energy system implementation.  This is where research on Smart Electricity Monitors came into play.  For us, it came down to 3 choices:

Kill A Watt from P3 International is a single plug monitor that you can use to monitor and bench mark each 110v outlet and do all the calculations manually.  Although the cheapest option, not really a candidate for what we wanted to achieve as there is not "total home consumption" real-time monitoring, history to run reports and trending and the biggest downfall being it could not monitor 220v large appliances.  We still may purchase a couple of these are they are very affordable, have great reviews and can give you "at the plug" readings.

Cent-a-Meter was a close second as it is a home energy consumption model that is connected to your entrance electrical panel via CT clips and monitors real time electricity used.  It has a nice wireless receiver that you can bring around the house if you wish.  The cons of the product is it uses batteries for the sending unit and the receiver.  It provided the real-time data I was looking for but no software for archiving, trending etc...

T.E.D, The Energy Detective is the unit we actually purchased.  This unit has great reviews and bundled with the Footprints software, does everything I ever wanted and then some.  It does not require batteries, however it does use panel electricity to operate.  About .08cents a month according to the site.  It also comes with CT clips for easy installation and the receiver unit plugs into any wall outlet.  I purchased the additional software package Footprints so I can connect the receiver to a computer via USB and see a real-time dashboard chalk full of information including 13 month historic data retention. 

Stay tuned for a full product review on The Energy Detective once I receive and set it up to see if it stands up to it's claims on their website.  In the meantime check out this video review from Mavromatic which is very well done and detailed.

What electricity monitor do you have setup in your home?  Has it been of value?  Has it contributed to reducing your energy consumption?  Has it paid for itself?  Questions i'll be answering myself as well...

Courtesy of The Energy Detective

Courtesy of The Energy Detective

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