So you’ve changed your lightbulbs, installed energy-efficient windows, smart insulation, and solar panels on your roof. What more can you possibly do to save energy? Simple: use your smartphone to manage home energy consumption! There’s an incredible array of energy-saving apps out there that allow you to do everything from tracking your home’s energy use to turning off the lights and adjusting the thermostat – read on for five of our favorites.
1. SunPower Monitoring System
Looking to glean more info from your roof-mounted photovoltaic array? SunPower’s innovative Solar Electric Home Energy Management System lets you monitor energy produced from SunPower-branded solar systems in real time. The iPhone app offers statistics on the lifetime energy generation of the panels as well as daily production, usage, and net energy use. Besides its inherent cool factor, SunPower’s app can also help you figure out whether it’s a good day to, say, wash and dry the entire family’s laundry.
Anyone who owns a Wiser Home Control energy management system would be wise to download the iPhone app, which provides a 3G or wireless connection to your system. That means everything from lighting to security, climate and even camera monitoring can be controlled from your phone. So if you, for example, forgot to turn off the lights in the living room, you can just click them off remotely using the app. The more home elements you have attached to the system (i.e. air conditioning, sprinkler system, lighting, etc.), the more the app can control.
If you don’t have the cash for a solar system or home energy management set-up, consider downloading MeterRead. This handy iPhone app lets you read your electricity meter using your phone. Each time you check it, the app tell you how many kilowatt hours (kW�h) of power were used since the last read. That information can then be used to predict your total energy usage over the next 30 days. The app has a number of uses. It can show you the positive effects of energy-saving changes at home — i.e. installing LED bulbs or new insulation — and it allows you to double-check the power company’s meter readings for accuracy.
4. Control4 Mobile Navigator
This home energy app, available for the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android, allows users to control everything from security, lighting, and temperature to music and video — provided that the Control4 system is installed at home. The app is similar to Wiser’s offering with one added bonus: a secondary Control4 Concierge app lets users staying at Control4-equipped hotels control housekeeping, valet, dining, and entertainment options. iPad users can also download a separate Control4 app.
5. iPhone Energy UFO
Visible Energy’s iPhone app works in tandem with the Visible Energy UFO Power Center (a series of four smart power strips installed at home) to provide on-the-go visual feedback of electricity consumption and cost. In addition to providing information on the power usage of each power strip, the app also shows energy costs and gives users the option to turn outlets on and off on a daily schedule. It’s cheaper than installing an entire home energy management system (a la Control4 or Wiser) and provides more specific information on individual devices than MeterRead.