Bill Carter Austin January 3, 2007

Has anyone looked at working with utilities and/or appliance/electronics manufacturers to provide little read-out lights showing kilowatts being drawn by a device or system at any given time? I read in this discussion last year about the use of portable meters that are hooked up to electricity-using items in a house to show residents how much electricity these items are using. What about building that information into the appliances, HVAC system, etc. on a continuous basis? More simply, just showing the KW being drawn, or showing cumulative KWH over daily or monthly cycles. I'm imagining what that would do for awareness of energy use. The AC system goes on, and the thermostat panel lights up with the KW being drawn. A similar read-out lights up on the refrigerator door, dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer whenever they run. For most appliances it could simply be one fixed number representing the rated power which is drawn whenever the unit operates. Others might require multiple settings, and the indicator light would read the setting or phase of operation and show the corresponding power rate (e.g. the power requirements for agitate, rinse, spin). Perhaps some items would be so variable as to require a built-in meter like the KW meter in a treadmill at the gym. This might be most helpful with computers and other small electronic items that may be drawing power in sleep mode and have highly variable power use rates through the course of operation. The sheer number of items around the house showing energy use might be a major wake-up for a lot of people.

- Bill Carter