November 24, 2008 If you’re looking at ways of reducing energy consumption be it to do your bit to save the planet or reduce the load on your wallet for the expected economic winter, here’s a very good starting point. The Energy Detective (TED) is a US$145 real-time electricity monitoring device and as it can be expected to result in the saving of 10-20% on your electricity bills, the ROI should be less than 12 months. TED can tell you how much energy your air conditioner, computer, or dishwasher are using and accurately predict your next power bill weeks in advance. There’s also optional US$45 software which enables you to analyse energy usage every-which-way on your PC.

Since TED connects directly to the user’s electrical panel, it’s measurements are accurate within 2%. By providing real-time energy feedback, TED allows consumers to effectively monitor and conserve energy use in their homes, resulting in drastically reduced electricity bills. According to the manufacturers, TED users typically reduce their energy bills by between 10% and 20% once they can see where energy is being unnecessarily used and adjust usage patterns. This reflects the experiences of the CENTAMETER, a similar Australian-made device we tested a few years ago.

TED’s customizable features let users program their TED to display energy usage in convenient, intuitive, and easy_to_understand formats, making it an ideal tool for energy consultants in educating their clients. TED can reveal how much users have spent so far that day or during the current billing cycle, and can even project their monthly electricity bill. Users also have the option of displaying energy use in either kilowatts or in cents. TED even includes an alarm that can alert users when they exceed their desired energy use!

TED Footprints is data-logging software designed to provide very detailed information about your use of electricity and is an optional extra. By using the Footprints software, you can connect TED to your PC via USB or Serial connection (depending on the model of TED that you have), and TED Footprints will begin tracking and logging your usage every second, enabling a real-time dashboard of your electrical usage in kW, dollars, voltage or CO2 format and you can see usage over any time frame. You can even print the charts should you need a visual aid whilst beating your children

The data is logged in the background and can be output in .CSV format for further analysis in Excel or other spreadsheet or database software.

If understanding what's really happening on a micro scale is your bent, TED should really give you plenty of info to get down and dirty with, and you can even load-profile your major appliances, such as Water Heater, HVAC system, or other heavy loads. It'll even output the time-of-use, run-time and cost-to-run specified loads.

View gallery - 8 images