A Durham, North Carolina-based Green Plus company has developed software to help residential and business clients reduce their monthly energy bills. PlotWatt, founded in 2008, provides users with detailed information about the energy consumption of individual appliances within their homes or businesses. PlotWatt analyzes the energy-use data to produce practical and personalized recommendations for reducing energy usage by modifying energy use habits. So far, PlotWatt users have averaged a 20 percent reduction in monthly energy bills.
While other energy-tracking services allow users to monitor overall energy use, PlotWatt’s unique cloud-based software tracks the energy use of specific appliances over the course of the day. PlotWatt’s software does this by identifying the unique energy signatures of common appliances in energy-meter readings, which it gathers by wirelessly connecting to special energy meters such as TED or WattVision. By identifying and tracking the energy use of individual appliances over time, PlotWatt can help clients make smart and informed energy-saving choices.
While PlotWatt charges businesses a small fee for access to its software, it remains free for residential customers. PlotWatt is able to offer its software free to residential users due, in part, to several large grants including the GE Ecomagination Award and a grant from the North Carolina Green Business Fund.
PlotWatt’s innovative software reinforces the idea that reducing monthly energy bills begins with an understanding of how individual appliances use energy. With or without PlotWatt, all energy-users would be well-served to be more cognizant of the way each of their appliances uses energy throughout the day. For instance, some electrical appliances continue to draw energy even though they appear to be turned off, and others use far more energy than they appear to. By becoming better informed about the way individual appliances use energy, users are better prepared to conserve energy and reduce their monthly bills.