Saturday, 8 November 2008

Every Home Should Have One

The Electrisave - this much information can really change your electricity use

A couple of weeks ago I was loaned an Electrisave, also known as The Owl. An Australian invention, you can buy them for around £30. The sat nav equivalent for home electricity consumption, it shows you minute by minute how much of the expensive stuff you're using.

For years electricity was relatively cheap, but with 30%+ price rises we all know fuel really does cost dearly these days. Since I connected the transmitter (not pictured) round the power cable leaving my electricity meter I've acquired a compelling urge to see how much electricity I'm burning my way through. The receiver (pictured) is programmed with the price of each KwH of power (17.2p on my tariff) and displays the real time cost. These devices aren't 100% accurate - but they give a realistic guide.

I can't get the background count below 2.1p - probably all the clocks, modem etc ticking away hour after hour. But put the oven on and the cost jumps to 48p an hour, the kettle 39p an hour, the shower pump 12p an hour microwave 25p or the iron 38p.

I've always been one for turning the lights off... mainly. Each 60w bulb appears to cost around 1p an hour to burn. I used to leave the kitchen lights on all evening, but no longer. Recently I've taken to switching the oven off a few minutes before the end of the cooking time and boiling less water in the kettle.

In a year long study currently underway monitored by the Institute of Public Policy Research, 8 homes in 8 streets in 8 cities across the UK have been seeing how much energy they can save (Green Streets). Changing behaviour has proved as significant when it comes to cutting fuel costs as fitting loft insulation or energy saving light bulbs.

I've changed my energy behaviour since monitoring the electrisave. Perhaps every home should have one?


ken said...

Came across your article on this blog and wanted to find out more about the Electrisave.

Looks like it is no more, and there is a very unhappy family business as a result

The Chief Executive said...

Hi Ken, thanks for your feedback.

The Electrisave has indeed been updated and rebranded as The Owl.

After one month of use I can definitely confirm that the monitor has helped reduce the amount of electricity I use.

Of course you'll have to save electricity to justiy the £30 cost of the device, although I see one company is renting out the Owl or Electrisave (depending on availability) for £12.99 + £2.50 P&P with an option to buy at the end of the trial for £24.99.