One way to do it is to get a home energy monitor. There is a new one out on the market by EcoFactor that works remotely from your home so there is no software or additional thermostat to install.
The system operates by calculating each home’s unique ‘thermal characteristics’ using a two-way communication tool and the home’s broadband Internet connection. Using this system, EcoFactor is able to tell how much energy is required to heat and cool the home.
What’s cool is that EcoFactor’s HVAC system is able to pick up on slight changes in your home’s ‘thermal performance’ over time and compare it to similar houses around you. With that information they can then offer you best practices to most efficiently use energy in your home. It’s beneficial for the company too in that if they can detect when and how you use energy best, they can alter their systems to better reflect that use, saving them time and energy as well.
Check ’em out at: http://www.ecofactor.com/.
A good first step in energy management is to be aware of how much energy you currently use. This could be as simple as taking a closer look at your monthly electricity bill, or you could get more detailed information by reading your meter regularly (or buying a device to monitor your energy consumption for you), or by using a wattmeter to directly measure the amount of energy your various appliances use.
Once you have an idea of where you stand in terms of energy consumption, you can start figuring out where to make changes. The more detailed your initial data is, the more easily you can pinpoint the greatest areas of concern. For example, if you notice an abnormally high energy use at a particular point in the day every day, you can investigate that energy drain an correct it; or if you realize a certain appliance is consuming an unusually large amount of energy, you can replace it or reduce your use of it. If there’s no obvious culprits, you could try making multiple small changes across the board.
Having zeroed in on your problem areas and made your corrections, continue to monitor your consumption to see if the changes have payed off. Then you can decide if you’re satisfied with the results or if you want to do more.
Here’s one big thing that could potentially change your energy consumption and electricity bill: If you have a clothes drier, start using it sparingly and start hanging clothes to dry. I’ve lived in three other countries, two of which, Japan and South Korea, were just as developed (if not more) as the U.S. People in these countries don’t have yards, they don’t always have nice weather, but still they don’t use clothing driers because of the energy costs. Instead, clothing is hung outside on the apartment veranda or inside on a drying rack.
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