HeatMeter: A Cloud-Based Energy Sensor to Improve Efficiency HeatMeter: A Cloud-Based Energy Sensor to Improve Efficiency
Design

HeatMeter: A Cloud-Based Energy Sensor to Improve Efficiency

by Radu Gogoana

February 24, 2013
 
This is where my team and I come in, with a home heating efficiency sensor that we’ve been developing. We’re a bunch of engineering geeks from MIT and we’ve built a low-cost, universal sensor that sends real-time efficiency information right to your smartphone. 
 
We’re convinced that awareness inspires action. People may believe that they’re being efficient by turning down their thermostats a few degrees, but in reality the quality of their insulation and the efficiency of their heating systems matters much more. These issues are largely invisible to homeowners, because it takes a technician to stop by every home and run an individual audit. This approach is expensive and difficult to scale, as it requires thousands of technicians to check every home.
 
         
We wanted to find a better, less complicated, and less expensive way for homeowners to keep tabs on their energy usage. Simplicity and cost-management were key in our design process: in some of the cases we saw in Boston, lower-income homes were so poorly insulated that simple sealing improvements would pay for themselves in less than 6 months. Again, the people living there were unaware of this. We aimed to make our sensor affordable for every homeowner, whether they’re an energy-enthusiast trying to be as efficient as possible, or the average homeowner trying to save a few bucks on heating bills. We see no downside to this approach.
 
Our sensor—The HeatMeter—enables energy monitoring for propane, natural gas and oil for the first time. These are the most common heating fuels in America. The sensor installs in less than five minutes with no professional help. The heating technicians that we showed this to were blown away by what it can do, and we believe that you will be, too.
 
You can support us by checking out our Kickstarter.

This month, challenge a neighbor to GOOD's energy smackdown. Find a neighbor with a household of roughly the same square footage and see who can trim their power bill the most. Throughout February, we'll share ideas and resources for shrinking your household carbon footprint, so join the conversation at good.is/energy

 
House image originally from Shutterstock; second and third images courtesy of Radu Gogoana.
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HeatMeter: A Cloud-Based Energy Sensor to Improve Efficiency