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An energy manager from Google could be in your future if this patent takes off

Why it matters to you

Saving energy can be a tall order, but Google wants to help with a new device suggested by its patent.

Your home could soon be getting a healthy dose of intuition. On Thursday, Google filed a patent for a system that would provide “intelligent temperature management based on energy usage profiles and outside weather conditions.”

As our homes become smarter and smarter, they are being exposed to an increasing number of information sources, which in turn create their own feedback loops. Google is hoping to add to that list of sources the outside environment as well as individual devices’ energy usage. The data provided by these two factors could then be used to tell customers how best to save energy in their homes, allowing for more efficient energy management.

“Consumers experiment with different ways of reducing household energy usage,” the patent notes. “For example, consumers may turn off air conditioning during certain parts of the day,” or “use measuring devices to calculate the energy usage rate of a particular device.” But as it stands, it’s difficult to actually determine how much power certain devices are really using, and therefore, how best to save energy (and by extension, save some money). After all, do you really know what it means when someone tells you that you’re using two kilowatts per hour? No? Neither do we.

But Google wants to help us all better understand our energy footprint by linking devices to one master system of sorts. The patent describes “accessing an energy management policy for a plurality of devices … wherein the devices are coupled with a first structure.”

In essence, Google’s proposed device would create an energy usage rule for any given device, then monitor its actual energy usage. Based on a comparison between the energy usage rule and the observed data, the device would be able to “generate an instruction to modify an energy usage profile,” giving users more exacting instructions on what to do in order to cut back on their electric bill.

While this is nothing more than a patent for now, it is certainly a concept worth keeping your eyes on.