I just spent an hour (while on my vacation) entering home energy data for my house into Microsoft Hohm Energy Usage site. I provided a great deal of home data — items like square footage of windows, BTU/hr for my furnace, R-values of insulation in my house. After finishing this part, I was told that my energy providers are not yet Hohm partners, so unless I enter my energy use data manually, I get pretty much nothing other than a breakdown of energy use in a pie chart (which, since I have done this myself, I know is inaccurate).
In the end, they provide a list of recommendations — many were ones I had already done (and said so in the survey) such as using a programmable thermostat. Come on — that’s lame.
It is true that Hohm is not the same thing (in any way) as Google Power Meter. In fact, this same kind of energy survey is available from my gas provider, WattzOn.com, and several other sites such as Global Footprint Network which is the measurement tool used on the TV show Wa$ted.
A larger complaint of this and most other calculators is that they request detailed information that most people could not provide (I guess I am one of few people who knows my furnace’s BTU/hr rating off the top of my head, or even where to find it). Garbage in, garbage out. And in the case of Hohm, the survey is limited to home energy usage — no travel, no recycling, no food, commutation, etc. Sigh.
It’s hard to complain too much about this — it’s a Beta site, so my expectations should probably be low — I suspect it will get better, more widely accessible and so on. But for me, it was an hour of questionable data input leading to no useful recommendations or other insights (and I think this would be true of most people, not just a person diagnosed with energy-consumptive-obsessive disorder.