Helping You Save
Energy and Money
#

Back to All Energy Saving Tips

Energy Monitors

Peter Drucker, known as the inventor of modern business management, is credited with saying: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” When making the most of the energy used in your home or business, simply researching “energy efficiency improvements” often provides an approximate idea of how a project’s energy savings compare to costs for improvement.

However, when opportunities are difficult to recognize, such as unexplained energy use or calculating the amount of electricity produced by a solar panel array, an energy monitoring system is essential. In particular, those wanting to optimize their energy use need a system that specifically identifies where energy is used and how much is consumed over time, as well includes and the ability to verify energy savings.

For those unfamiliar with energy monitoring systems, most consist of hardware, software and the delivery of data to a smartphone, computer or other display device. Some systems allow additional components, such as smart plugs and thermostats, to be connected to provide automation of energy saving practices.

When choosing a system, consider the following factors:

Appliance recognition – Unless monitoring is performed on individual circuit breakers serving recognizable connections, the system must provide appliance recognition. Some do this through a process of machine learning by identifying the “signature” of an individual appliance’s energy use and tracking it in real-time for further analysis.

Real-time cost tracking – Different systems will provide a variety of tracking reports ranging from daily to yearly. However, owners especially appreciate seeing the energy use impacts of your appliances and devices in “real-time” and in terms of energy costs.

Smart devices – With the increasing popularity of “smart homes,” controlling appliances and devices through smart devices is crucial. When using smart device applications, users expect to be able to monitor real-time energy usage, adjust settings, set alarms and more. Systems without apps still provide useful information to help save energy but don’t provide the level of convenience many expect.

Solar energy capable – Many people have or are considering solar energy (photovoltaic) installations for their home or business. Most often, these systems are integrated with utility connections so electricity can be used by the owner or flow back into the utility line. If the owner requires more electricity than their solar panels are generating, the extra power flows from the utility line. While most solar energy systems monitor and record how much energy they produce, utility metering usually does not separately record how much is being used at the home or business versus being put back on the line. For that reason, an energy monitoring system is vital to understand the breakdown of energy production and consumption.

Installation – Many systems are designed so Do-It-Yourselfers can complete installation. While in the interests of safety, it is always better to have a licensed electrician appropriately handle the job, doing so is an additional cost for consideration.

Cost and savings – Basic energy monitoring systems intended for use in residential or small business installations range from $70 to $450. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average owner identifies 10% energy savings after implementing new energy-saving projects. Some assertively pursuing efficiency optimization report savings as high as 20%.

Whether you’re trying to identify where your energy is being used or how to use less, your local utility wants to help. Contact them for more energy-saving ideas.

Other Related Tips

Thinking About Your A/C?

As the heat of summer cranks up, so do the central air conditioners and heat pumps across Nebraska. In fact, approximately 90% of homes in our state have one of these central cooling systems. The vast majority have a compressor unit that buzzes outside as the system...

Doing the Dishes

Of the more than one million food service businesses in the United States, the National Restaurant Association estimates more than 260,000 are full-service restaurants. Considering the average restaurant serves about 100 customers per day, that means a lot of dirty...

Light Switches

In June of 1752, Benjamin Franklin and his son, William, conducted the famous kite-in-a-thunderstorm experiment to demonstrate the relationship between lightning and electricity. By attaching the kite to a Leyden jar, which was an early type of battery invented seven...

Kicking the Can

First introduced in the 1950s, recessed lighting or “can lighting” is still a popular choice for residential and commercial lighting. Traditionally, these fixtures consist of a cylindrical or square-shaped metal housing that extends above the ceiling so only the trim...

Why Energy Efficiency?

Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is committed to working in partnership with local utility customers to maximize the value of their energy purchases in a cost-effective manner. To understand its importance in our future, we need to examine where energy efficiency...

Skip to content