Home Energy Monitoring with Decorah High School Students

Have you ever wondered how much electricity your microwave used (or computer, or range, or … you get the picture)? Or how much your whole house is using right now?

We’re working on a collaborative project to install special electrical monitoring devices in the homes of DHS students and their families right now (spring and summer 2010) to test their impact.
Thirty families involved in our study are monitoring their real time energy use with a TED: The Energy Detective. By seeing how much electricity they are using at any given time and being able to track it over the three month study, many will lower their energy bills and be more aware of where their power goes.
 Here’s the process:
  • Ninth grade students from Decorah and their families (as well as some other community members) agreed to participate and provided us with with the amount of electricity they have used in the past.
  • Luther environmental studies students and our own staff coordinate install schedules, gather survey information from participants, and conduct follow up
  • Local electrical contractors donated their time to help with installation in 30 homes, with a connection to the electrical panel sending a real-time readout to the display unit in the kitchen/living room, and also (for some models) to a data logger connected to their computer so usage can be graphed by hour, day, or month
  • Pre and post-install electric bills, as well as participant feedback will allow us to assess the effectiveness of the TEDs
  • At the end of the study, participants may purchase the devices or have us remove them, and we’ll install in another home and so on, creating something of a revolving loan fund for people like you to try them out.
Interested? Visit http://www.theenergydetective.com/ to learn more about the units, or the Energy Circle blog for general info on home energy monitoris, and  explore the comments below or the feature pages coming soon highlighting participants.
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