California-based kWh Power is tackling phantom energy loss by introducing the Plugwise system in the United States. Developed by Dutch company Plugwise in 2006, this system allows you to monitor, track, and control unnecessary energy use throughout your home or office.
The system consists of “Circles” which are plugged into standard wall outlets to measure load on that outlet, and a “Stick” that wirelessly relays data from the circles to your computer, where Plugwise Source, the monitoring and management software, allows you see and control usage. Data can also be uploaded to the web for remote access via laptops and smartphones.
Plugwise Source gives you control of your energy use in three ways. First, it provides details of energy use at the appliance level. Second, it allows you to schedule background operation of appliances that do not need to be on all the time — similar to the way a programmable thermostat turns down the heating or cooling demand when you are not home. And third, it allows you to combine different circles into groups that can be made to run on different schedules.
Additional products coming soon to the Plugwise system include Sense, which can track room temperature data, and Scan, which is a retrofit solution for occupancy sensor lighting control. And for applications where monitoring and control of a hardwired device is desired, Stealth can be installed to give the same functionality as a Circle. These devices will all feed data to Plugwise Source as well.
Plugs will be sold soon at major retailers and online at kWh Power for $50 each. The US distributor also sells a Home Start Kit for $99.95 with two Circles, a Stick, and a license for the Plugwise Source software.
Photo credits: kWh Power.