SURE, YOUR HOME is pretty smart, what with the HAL 9000 thermostat, the connected light bulbs, and the “Hey-we’re-outta-milk” fridge. But if it really gave a damn, your house would do something about your runaway energy suck, like tracking it day-to-day and providing some actionable data. Because—let’s face it—all those smart appliances (to say nothing of your dumb ones) might be turning your power bill ugly. And, oh, yeah, the planet. Won’t someone think of the planet?
Actionable data is exactly the idea behind the Powerley Energy Bridge, a free monitor that’s available from the Detroit utility DTE. Plug the little white brick into your router and it links up with the smart meter the utility company quietly installed a while back. Then fire up the DTE Insight app on your phone and prepare for an energy eye-opener. Not only do you get real-time usage numbers, but also month-over-month consumption stats, along with how your habits compare with your neighbors’.
Of course, it’s not enough to merely keep tabs on the Joneses; you need to beat them at their own power-sucking game. That’s why the app provides energy tips and projects to help you lower your consumption. It also lets you create an “energy budget” and can even identify your worst vampire appliances by scanning their power cords.
Powerley is already working on a second-generation Energy Bridge, one that will perform even more power-saving tricks. On the agenda: home automation in the form of connected devices, like a Powerley thermostat that lets homeowners participate in demand-response programs.
Right now, the Energy Bridge is part of a pilot program that’s only available to residents in the Detroit area. Powerley was created in part by DTE, and it’s still a local affair. However, the company also plans to offer the tech to other utilities, so hopefully, it won’t be long before this bridge (or one like it) arrives to boost your energy IQ.
Originally published on Wired.