Computer Business Review

Google turns its attention to saving the planet

Steve Evans

11:18, October 29 2009

PowerMeter can monitor energy usage in the home

Google has announced that it is launching its PowerMeter energy monitoring platform in the UK, giving users the chance to save money by reducing energy consumption.

PowerMeter enables users to monitor their home energy usage through their PC or mobile phone via smart metering. Usage updates can be viewed through an iGoogle account.

Google hopes that by enabling people to actively monitor their energy usage they will be more willing to introduce energy-saving tactics, such as making sure lights are switched off when not in use, appliances are not left in standby mode and kettles are not over-filled. This should help reduce carbon footprints as well as save money for consumers.

PowerMeter itself is available free of charge, but users will have to buy a device from AlertMe that plugs into an existing meter. The AlertMe plug-in costs £69 up front, followed up a £3 monthly charge. Users can also switch to energy supplier first:utility to use the service.

Smart metering technology is growing in popularity and the UK government is aiming to have one installed in every home by 2020.

Earlier this year, networking giant Cisco unveiled EnergyWise, a software technology aimed at businesses that can measure, manage and control the energy consumption of IP devices such as phones, laptops and access points.

At the time of the launch, CEO John Chambers said that the system can be configured to automatically switch on a user’s computer and phone and any other IP device when a worker ‘badges-in’ on arrival at the office in the morning.

Cisco also operates a Smart Grid platform, which the firm says can help utility companies and their customers jointly cut down on energy usage and reduce the amount of wasted energy distributed throughout the electricity grid.

IBM has also embrace energy monitoring within the workplace and home. The IBM energy dashboard collects metrics from IT, facilities and physical assets and enables the IT department to know exactly how much energy is being consumed.



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