Hi, I’m Nigel Berman, founder of Nigel’s Eco Store. I’m writing some guest posts for the uSwitch blog for Energy Saving Week to let you know about the different ways you can reduce your impact on the planet, and also reduce the impact on your bills too.

Thanks to LEDLON89 via Flickr for this great image

Thanks to LEDLON89 via Flickr for this great image

Installing an energy monitor is a great first step to understanding and reduce your energy use. Every energy monitor boasts ‘easy installation’ and a ‘clear display’ (well, there wouldn’t be much point in making it complex would there!), but beyond that each energy monitor offers a range of different options for analysing your energy use, and its easy to get lost!

By 2020, every home in the UK will have a smart meter, a major endeavour involving the replacement of around 50 million gas and electricity meters. The result will be more accurate billing, and easier switching between suppliers.

But do you want to wait until 2020 to take control of your energy use? Installing an energy monitor could save you  up to 15% off your energy bill in the first year, and once you get into seeking out and switching off greedy appliances, you could save even more.

Energy monitor features

Here are some things to consider when choosing an energy monitor:

  • Analyse your usage on your Mac or PC: Some energy monitors store data about your energy use, which you can then upload to your computer and analyse with accompanying software packages, allowing you to create charts and graphs, making it easy to identify patterns in your energy use.      Try these: OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor, Current Cost CC126 Envi Wireless Energy Monitor, Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter, Wattson Energy Meter.
  • Analyse and monitor your data online: Currently only the Current Cost CC126 Envi Wireless Energy Monitor offers this feature via featured device partner Google PowerMeter and online community Pachube. An online community feature for Holmes, the companion software for the Wattson Energy Meter is planned for the future.
  • Audio/visual warning when energy consumption rises beyond a set point: Would you find this feature useful or annoying? If you think it might help you remember to turn things off, then you might like to consider one of the four monitors which offer this feature. If, however, you’re sick of bleeps and flashes then steer clear!                                                                                                                               Try these: OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor (audio), Efergy Elite Wireless Smart Meter (both),  Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter (audio), Wattson Energy Monitor (visual).
  • Economy 7 meters: Do you have an Economy 7 meter installed? In which case you should look for an energy monitor which is compatible with Economy 7 and can differentiate between the two readings.                                                                                                                                                                                                Try these: OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor, Current Cost CC126 Envi Wireless Energy Monitor, Efergy Elite Wireless Smart Meter, Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter,  Wattson Energy Monitor.
  • CO2 monitoring: As well as telling you how much energy you are using, and how much it is costing you, some energy monitors provide data to help you determine your carbon footprint.                         Try these: Efergy E2 eLink Wireless Smart Meter, OWL CM119 Wireless Energy Monitor.

Compare the whole range of energy monitors side-by-side.

Whichever model you decide to go for, you can be sure that the first step to saving money on your bills is having a better understanding of where energy wastage is taking place. I hope this guide is helpful, if you have any queries, let me know in the comments.

Nigel Berman is the founder of Nigel’s Eco Store.