The concept of the smart home has both explored and succeeded in answering this question, but the ideal solution usually comes with either incompatible or pricey devices. But a new offering from Sense Labs, the Sense home energy monitor, provides the ability to bring age-old electronic equipment into a data-driven, trackable ecosystem.
The ability to control the devices is not available, but by installing the Sense monitor in your electrical panel and downloading the Sense app, you’ll be able to watch all of your home’s appliances in action and track what is using the most electricity.
“The Sense home energy monitor listens to those voices through current sensors on the main breakers in your electric panel,” Sense’s website reads. “It records them millions of times per second. We then apply multi-domain device signature detection algorithms to distinguish one appliance from another — to recognize each individual voice.”
The approach, as Quartz noted, is known as nonintrusive load monitoring, which uses machine learning algorithms to “identify the power consumption of single devices by analyzing an entire house’s power consumption of single devices by analyzing an entire house’s electricity profile.”
Sense’s monitor costs $249, and could potentially turn into a money-saving tool for homeowners. Data on personal energy use could translate to making better decisions regarding individual appliances: when to turn devices off, when a device is using more electricity than usual, and monitor use over long periods of time.
Research backs up Sense’s industry insight, as further control and information over personal electricity use could result in energy savings across the board.
“Home intelligence could unlock significant residential energy savings, say researchers, by informing users about their habits, and providing insight about how individual appliances perform, energy-wise, over time”
The app will also notify users with programmable circumstances, like when your kids are watching more TV than they’re supposed to, when the garage door opens, or when your clothes are done drying.
While a fully functioning smart-home might be out of your price range, Sense’s affordable monitoring system offers a worthy — and useful — alternative.