Buying and Installing an Energy Monitor

I’ve owned three different energy monitors, and played with a few of my friends, and my favorite is still the Efergy Elite.

It is relatively cheap compared to other monitors, easy to use and gives you great access to data.  It has topped Which Magazine’s independent comparison of 17 monitors, and is the biggest selling energy monitor in the world at over half a million units sold.

There are still two caveats worth noting.

Firstly, the install of the sensor clip will be very easy if you have good access, but a nightmare if your cables retreat directly into the wall from you fuse box.  If that is they case you might want to work out how you’ll attach the sensor before buying.  (I’ve attached the install video below.)

Secondly, if you have solar the Elite cannot measure generation.  It will only do usage and even then only if your wiring allows it.  I have a Wattson for this purpose, but still prefer the Elite for monitoring our usage because it tells me daily, weekly, monthly readings without attaching a computer.

Below, we provide an update on basics of energy monitors, introduce a few more top brands, and provide ideas on how to use them effectively to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.

Basics of Energy Monitors

Energy monitors are plug-in devices that connect to your appliances to track their electricity usage. These devices provide valuable insights into your energy consumption patterns, helping you identify ways to optimize efficiency and save on electricity costs.

Key features to look for in an energy monitor include:

  1. Real-time energy usage display: This feature allows you to see the current power consumption of your appliances, making it easier to identify high-energy-consuming devices.
  2. Cost estimation: Some energy monitors can estimate the cost of electricity usage, helping you understand the financial implications of your energy consumption habits.
  3. Data storage and analysis: Advanced models can store and analyze historical data, allowing you to track trends and changes in your energy usage over time.
  4. Remote access and control: Some energy monitors come with smartphone apps or web interfaces, enabling you to monitor and control your appliances remotely.

Top Energy Monitor Brands

  1. Sense Energy Monitor:
    • Overview and key features: The Sense Energy Monitor provides real-time insights into your energy usage, appliance-by-appliance. It uses machine learning algorithms to identify individual devices and their power consumption patterns.
    • Customer reviews and ratings: Sense has received positive feedback for its accuracy, user-friendly interface, and comprehensive data analysis.
    • Con is that this requires an electrician to attach sensors directly to your fuse box.
  2. TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug with Energy Monitoring:
    • Overview and key features: The Kasa Smart Plug integrates energy monitoring functionality into a smart plug, allowing you to control and track energy consumption for individual appliances remotely via a smartphone app.
    • Customer reviews and ratings: TP-Link’s Kasa Smart Plug is praised for its ease of use, compatibility with smart home systems, and affordable price.
    • Pro is that this is a plug-style energy monitor, so very easy to install.
  3. Emporia Vue Smart Home Energy Monitor:
    • Overview and key features: The Emporia Vue provides whole-home energy monitoring with real-time usage data, cost estimation, and remote access via a smartphone app. It also supports integration with solar panel systems.
    • Customer reviews and ratings: Users appreciate the Emporia Vue’s detailed energy data, solar monitoring capabilities, and responsive customer support.

Effective Usage of Energy Monitors

Identifying high-energy-consuming appliances: Use your energy monitor to pinpoint the devices that consume the most electricity, and consider replacing them with more energy-efficient alternatives or adjusting their usage patterns.

Establishing energy usage patterns: Analyze the data provided by your energy monitor to identify trends and times of high energy consumption, which can help you make informed decisions about when to use certain appliances.

Setting energy-saving goals: Set targets for reducing your energy consumption and use your energy monitor to track your progress toward these goals.

Optimizing appliance usage for efficiency: Adjust your appliance usage based on the insights provided by your energy monitor, such as unplugging devices when not in use or using energy-saving modes on your appliances.

Benefits of Using Energy Monitors

Energy and cost savings: By identifying areas of high energy consumption and making changes to your usage habits, you can save on electricity costs and reduce your overall energy usage.

Environmental impact reduction: Reducing your energy consumption helps lower your carbon footprint, contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.

Improved awareness of energy consumption habits: Energy monitors provide valuable insights into your energy usage patterns, making you more conscious of your habits and encouraging you to adopt more sustainable practices.

Conclusion – Energy Monitors

Energy monitors play a crucial role in promoting carbon reduction and sustainability by providing insights into our energy consumption habits. By investing in a reliable energy monitor from reputable brands like Sense, TP-Link, or Emporia, you can take an active role in reducing your energy usage and lowering your environmental impact.

Adopting energy-efficient practices not only benefits the environment but also leads to significant cost savings in the long run. By understanding your energy usage patterns and optimizing your appliance usage, you can make a meaningful contribution to global sustainability efforts while enjoying the benefits of a greener lifestyle.

Lindsay Wilson
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I founded Shrink That Footprint in November 2012, after a long period of research. For many years I have calculated, studied and worked with carbon footprints, and Shrink That Footprint is that interest come to life.

I have an Economics degree from UCL, have previously worked as an energy efficiency analyst at BNEF and continue to work as a strategy consultant at Maneas.  I have consulted to numerous clients in energy and finance, as well as the World Economic Forum.

When I’m not crunching carbon footprints you’ll often find me helping my two year old son tend to the tomatoes, salad and peppers growing in our upcycled greenhouse.

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