Archives for posts with tag: energy monitors

We’ve got a whole year to wait until the latest instalment of James Bond hits our cinema screens, so for those of you who really can’t wait that long, why not get all 007 at home? Sound odd? It won’t when you see our top five James Bond-style products.

Your Mission: To make your home as energy-efficient as possible and be the spy who killed household energy waste.


Danlers wall switch 

What could be slicker than the lights coming on when you walk into a room? The Danlers wall switch will save you energy and is essential for your  James Bond lifestyle…It also has a manual setting for when it’s time to relax with the James Bond impersonations.

Eton Scorpion

The super powerful, master-of-all outdoor gadgets, Eton Scorpian has a torch, USB charger and radio. (If you tried the shaken not stirred nonsense but it didn’t work for you, then there’s even a bottle opener for your beers.)

Powerxtender Charger

This is the gadget to charge your gadgets. Small but mighty, the iGo Powerxtender charger offers power to all your regular spy gadgets: up to 10 hours of extra talk time, 20 hours of playing time and 28 hours of listening.

energyEGG 

The energyEGG turns your appliances off when you leave the room, cutting your energy usage dramatically.  It means you don’t have to remember to turn the telly off before you embark on your mission – perfect for Bond, whose gadgets do all the hard for him.

H20 water powered alarm clock and thermometer

Every spy needs to keep a close eye on the time and the temperature so they can stay in control of their mission. With the H20 water powered alarm clock and a shower you won’t need batteries – it runs on water!

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By Deborah Burley

With energy bills soaring and the UK declared as the worst place to live in Europe according to our recent Quality of Life Index, things are looking a little dreary for us aren’t they?

At uSwitch we’re looking for ways of improving this situation and we believe it’s the small lifestylechanges that could make a huge difference. Because we’ve got a shop full of energy-efficient products, we thought it’d be a good idea to tell you about our top five products to reduce your energy bills. This way we can start feeling a little better about the country we call home.

After all, if we can spend less on living costs then it really is a rather lovely place to be.

Top five products to reduce your energy bills…

Four Enviroplugs (family pack) 

This is a great way of saving money if you’ve got a household full of mobile phone users. The Enviroplugs are adapters that plug into the wall socket and phone charger – once the phone is charged, the Enviroplug turns the power off. If, for example, you charge your phone overnight then you could cut this energy by 90%.

Radiator Booster 

This is a great energy-efficient product for the winter months – the Radiator Booster draws in and circulates wasted heat from the back of your radiator to keep  you warm and reduce those bills – no more feeling guilty for having heating on.

energyEGG standby saver 

We’re a big fan of the energyEGG. It not only looks great, but it’s also incredibly clever and could save you up to £37* a year by turning your appliances off for you when you’ve left the room.

EcoPulse TurboHead 

If you have a water meter then this shower head is for you – it pulses 30-40 (unnoticeable) times per second to reduce water bills and also delivers a fantastically powerful shower.

Solar Power Station 150W 

Why not collect your household energy from the sun and reduce your energy bills substantially? It’s a great to know that you’re also doing your bit to help the environment and it could generate up to 750 watt hours of electricity per day**. As well as this it’s easy to install without needing an electrician –  we can’t fault this solar panel.

*Based on average figures calculated by the Energy Saving Trust and DEFRA, using a household electricity consumption of 4015kWh per year at 13.95p/kWh.

**The Solar Power Station generates 150W of electricity an hour, equating to 750 watt hours based on an average of 5 hours of sunlight per day.

A few months ago, I saw that my energy supplier, npower, was giving away electricity monitors for customers who sign up for its ‘my npower’ online account management.

It sounded too good an offer to miss out on, so I went for it.

In all honesty, I’d probably never have bought an electricity monitor for myself. I’m already fairly energy conscious (I never leave anything on standby, I turn lights off when I leave the room, I do my washing at 30 degrees, and I even keep my fridge and freezer full of bottles of tap water to keep the running costs down) so I wasn’t sure how much difference it would make to my electricity usage.

A few weeks later a red box turned up at my door:

A free electricity monitor? For me?

I was concerned that it was going to be a pain to get up and running, but the set up was surprising easy. The instructions were clear and I didn’t have any trouble following them, and finding the right cable to clip it to by my electricity meter was far simpler than I expected. One thing I wished I’d thought of was to copy down my unit rates to before I started getting the display unit configured, as it was a pain to have to stop to go and grab my laptop to check them.

The display unit shows how much energy you’re using at that time in £s, kWhs or carbon emissions. You can see what you’d use in an hour, and keep track of your daily and weekly usage. You can even set weekly electricity usage targets to try to stick to.

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The electricity monitor display unit

Childishly, as soon as it was working, I went round switching everything in the house on to see how high I could make my hourly spend go – which kind of defeated the object!

It was interesting to see how much it costs to do everyday things, like sit and watch TV (3p per hour) or keep my fridge and freezer running (2.5p per hour).

It was also interesting to see what the real energy guzzlers in my home were. I’d assumed the washing machine would be the worst culprit, but because I have it set to 30 degrees, it’s not as expensive as I’d thought. The real shockers were my kettle and Hoover – both of which sent the needle on the monitor sky-rocketing towards the 40p per hour mark (still not that expensive really!)

I also found that I spend about £3.70 on electricity a week. I’m quite happy with that, but it really did put into perspective just how much I spend on gas. I don’t think it had ever dawned on me before, because I’m on a dual fuel tariff and pay one single Direct Debit each month.

Now if someone could just make me a gas monitor, I’d be very happy!

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.