Sometimes the best designs out there are not ‘products’ that can be purchased — but big ideas made accessible to all through the power of Do-It-Yourself design. The award-winning EnerJar takes the important concept of home energy monitoring, and brings it to the masses in a fun, interactive way through a handy, downloadable DIY design that can be put together using a jam jar and other household objects. By turning energy monitoring into an engaging DIY project the Enerjar took first prize in our recent Greener Gadgets Competition. Designed by Matt Meshulam and Zach Dwiel, this little downloadable DIY kit uses common household materials to monitor the energy output of a variety of everyday devices, allowing a user to take personal responsibility over energy use.
Helping to knock vampire power out of the house, the cute little EnerJar measures how much energy your household appliances are sucking up, by providing a conduit between the wall outlet and your device. Just plug the EnerJar into the wall, and your gadget into the EnerJar, and the monitor will display the energy usage of the gadget.
And in true green spirit, the EnerJar isn’t a commercial product, but rather, a set of schematics offered for free online to any enterprising soul wishing to build their own. Materials needed include four integrated circuit chips, 12 resistors, and an LED display, and a power supply salvaged from an unused cell phone charger. And instead of opting for plastic enclosures, the designers encased the hardware in a glass jar, an item that is commonly discarded as trash. We love and applaud the spirit of the Enerjar – as an object, an idea and a model for open-source design for all.