updated 01:45 pm EST, Tue February 10, 2009
Google develops PowerMeter
Google today said it's making efforts to bring more information about home energy use to homeowners, in an effort to save energy and therefore help reduce pollution as well as slow the waste of natural resources. The company is developing a PowerMeter program in conjunction with the US government and public works companies who supply energy to homes. The software would let users view their exact power consumption in real time by teaming smart meters with software to automatically relay how much power is being drawn by a given device at any one time or over a certain period.
The combination would potentially let its users identify energy-hungry devices plugged into a home's power grid and either scale back their use or replace them with more energy-efficient models.
Google cites studies that show easy access to home energy use information results in savings of between 5 and 15 percent on monthly electricity bills, and goes on to say that if half of American homes would cut energy use by 10 percent, it would equal taking eight million cars off the road. On Sunday, Google filed comments with the California Public Utility Commission regarding new policy suggestions to build smart power grids in the future.
The Google PowerMeter is currently in the prototype stage, as it's currently in testing, but the company hopes to release it in pilot programs initially in partnership with utility companies and device manufacturers.