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Save energy by breaking down use appliance by appliance

05/12/15

energybills

Sometimes the biggest challenge in saving energy is knowing where to start. Your monthly gas and electric bills come in big lump sums, so how can you identify the best opportunities to reduce your consumption? One of the smartest ways to get a clear idea of your energy consumption is to break it down appliance by appliance.

Disaggregation Technology

You can get a general idea of how much electricity your household devices use by reading the wattage labels and tracking how much time they are in use. However, to get an accurate picture of your household energy consumption, you need advanced technology that can break out and analyze exactly how much energy is being consumed by each appliance and device.

That's the gist of a recent report prepared by the energy startup Bidgely in cooperation with Pacific Gas & Electric. They teamed up to study 850 customers who were given a device that provided real-time readings on how much electricity their various appliances were using. The device used information it pulled from the home's smart meters to break down consumption for things like air conditioners, refrigerators and clothes dryers.

The data then allowed homeowners to make changes as to how and when they used their equipment, and the results were dramatic – households reduced their consumption by an average of 7.7 percent.

More Savings to Come

Most impressively, those gains came solely through behavioral changes. There remains much room for improvement if homeowners use the system to identify energy hogs in their households and replace inefficient appliances with newer, more efficient models.

Furthermore, the test was limited to people who already use time-of-day energy pricing, who tend to be savvier consumers when it comes to energy use.

“By definition, these people have already optimized some of their energy consumption in the home,” Bidgely CEO Abhay Gupta said to Greentechmedia. “We were able to demonstrate 7.7 percent energy savings on this time-of-use customer base. Imagine what we could do with a non-optimized home.”

Make Disaggregation Work for You

Bidgely is not the only company getting into the energy disaggregation game. Greentechmedia identifies others, like PlotWatt and Smappee, who are pushing into the market to provide the technology to help people save.

If you're interested in learning more about disaggregation or to find out if any of the companies are offering programs in your area, contact your local electrician, who can steer you towards the option that works best for your family.



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