Make people responsible for their energy use to drive down consumption!

Joe Baguley wrote a fantastic post recently on the HomeCamp blog on monitoring energy use in the home. It is a really good read as Joe outlines how he first became interested in home energy monitoring and over time evolved into the “home energy enforcer” (!). He goes through the tools he employed to monitor his home energy use and how, as he evolved to more granular and network accessible information, he was able to make even greater savings on his electricity bills.

What is even better though is how the first comment on the post came from his father, who said:

Pity he did not do this for the 20 plus years he lived at our house, the only way he saved energy then was to lie on the settee and wach me mow the lawns! He neven opened his bedroom curtains as it was easier to reach out of bed and turn on the light.

So there are two very important lessons to be taken from this post:
1. The more information you have about your energy consumption, the easier it is to reduce it and
2. One of the greatest incentives to reducing your energy consumption is having to pay the bills.

Joe didn’t worry about saving electricity while living with his parents, but now that he is paying for his electricity himself, reducing his energy footprint (and by extension his carbon footprint) has taken on a whole new level of importance. As he said himself:

What drove me to do all this was not only a fascination with tech, but more importantly a fascination with not wasting money. Not saving the planet – saving cash. In my experience cash beats morality every time…

I wonder, within businesses, would the best way to reduce energy usage be to expose energy usage information to all the employees (broken down facility, by department and even by individual)? Then make energy reduction part of people’s KPI‘s.

By extension, when electricity information in the home is granular enough, would a good way to reduce it be to assign energy budgets to all the members of the house (especially the kids!)?


  1. says

    ¿Are you sure that the 3W are cause because of the computer? ¿Could it be possible to be the energy monitor? ¿how much does this monitor consume?

    In any case, I still agree with the final conclusion: Even turned off, many devices cosume energy and monitorize them is good to detect it and cuantified.

    As usual… sorry for my probable language mistakes… english isn’t my native tongue.

  2. says

    Indarki – a great question (and I will confirm this for you in a subsequent video) but the energy monitor itself takes its own energy consumption before reporting whatever is plugged into it.

    In other words, when nothing is plugged into it, it reports 0W. The only time it registers above 0W is something plugged into it is consuming electricity.

  3. says

    An energy budget for kids would be a good way of getting them to go outside too. “You have no energy left this week for Playstation, read a book or go outside and play.”