“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”
How much does it cost to leave your TV on all day? What about turning your air conditioning 1 degree cooler? Which uses more power every month — your dishwasher or your washing machine? Is your household more or less energy efficient than similar homes in your neighborhood?
Its nearly impossible to make informed choices about electricity. This is a problem but also a huge opportunity for us all to save money and help the environment by reducing our power usage. Studies show that access to your household’s personal energy information is likely to save you 5–15% on your monthly bill. Even greater savings are possible if you use this information to see the value of retiring your old refrigerator, installing a new air conditioner or insulating your home. The potential impact of large numbers of people achieving similar efficiencies is even more exciting. For every six households that save 10% on electricity, for instance, we reduce carbon emissions as much as taking one conventional car off the road (see sources and calculation).
At Google we’re helping enable a future where access to personal electricity information helps everyone make smarter energy choices. Google PowerMeter shows consumers their electricity consumption in a secure Google gadget. Today we are testing the product with utility partners in the US, India, Germany, and Canada.
We think Google PowerMeter offers more useful and actionable feedback than complicated monthly paper bills that provide little detail on consumption or how to save energy. But Google PowerMeter is just a start; it will take a lot of different groups working together to create what the world really needs: a path to smarter power.
Our initial partners include a variety of utilities (large and small, rural and urban, privately held and municipally run) and one of the largest meter manufacturers. They all have one thing in common – a desire to serve their customers by providing access to detailed information that helps customers save energy and money. For now, Google Power Meter is only available to a limited group of customers, but we plan to expand our roll out later this year. Our partner utilities are helping to lead the charge to make the electricity grid smarter and we look forward to working with them and others.