Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

October 9, 2009

Google PowerMeter and TED 5000: A Giant Baby Step

Category: Household,Save Electricity – Tom Harrison – 5:30 pm

I had a lot of ideas about what might happen when Google’s PowerMeter read my TED 5000 data. All that data, from so many people, so many opportunities.

I installed the update last night, with some significant anticipation … what would I get?

Looks like I’ll need to be impatient a little longer.

The good news is that enabling PowerMeter via the TED is as simple as can be. It took about a minute once I had the firmware update (even that was quick).

The bad news is that there’s not that much of an incremental improvement over what you can already get on the TED. You can see your data in 15-minute increments as a “gadget” on iGoogle, your Google account home page. You can also see how your usage compares to others. While there’s a “Share” option on the widget, it doesn’t seem to work, so I am not sure what it’s supposed to do. And, you can see your usage data anywhere on the Internet, not just at home.

But my bigger disappointment is that this data, for now, seems to be private. An engineer at Google told me that they have big plans, and I believe that they’ll come through. I want:

  • to be able to publish my widget on my blog,
  • to be able to join up with others and compare our usages,
  • to be able to get at my data from a Google API so I can show the data however I like.
  • Oh, and a climate change bill would be nice, too.

Not yet.

In some ways, this is a huge step, and unexpected in some ways. We’ve been told to imaging a world of smart meters and all that we’ll get from that … through the utility companies? Instead, there’s a new channel for helping tackle by far the lowest hanging fruit of the climate change problem: conservation — if any company was going to get this working in a smart, extensible way, it would be Google.

So today’s step is small. And also huge. Thanks, Google, and Energy Inc.


  1. Hello Tom,

    I just discovered your blog, and I already spent quite a lot of time going through your articles and comments.
    I am indeed very interseted in your blog and I m definetely tempted to acquire the TED 5000 device.
    BUT, as there is a back order of something like 6 weeks, I bite my tongue, hold my breath and try to hold my raging VISA in my pocket for few more weeks.

    I have 2 questions,

    My First question is:
    could you recommend any book to understand and pinpoint the energy consumption in my house?

    An Energy Audit charges 150 $ for an audit by depresurizing you house, then an additional 200$ for an Audit using a ThermoCamera.
    I actually am in Montreal, Canada, and I am having an Energy Audit on my house by RenoClimat.

    My second question is:
    Is it worth having an Audit using a Thermo Camera?

    By the way, I just bought a 2004 house last July 2009 and my electricity bill is just making me cry :)


    Comment by Eric — December 10, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

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