Rainforest Automation Energy Monitoring Devices
We’re all trying to save energy; at least we should be. Over the past several years, power companies have been busy installing new ‘smart meters’ on residential homes around the country in an attempt to both better monitor energy usage, but also to help us learn how to use energy more efficiently.
Smart meters are a great idea, and there’s currently around 50 million of them (43% of U.S. homes) installed nationwide, but they only go so far. Most of us still take a quick glance at the monthly bill, now a bit more detailed with the smart meter technology) and send a check off to the power company.
Smart meters give us a much more concise, detailed look at our energy usage, but if we’re not really paying attention and doing something about it, what good are they? What if there was a different kind of smart meter out there that would speak to us in terms we can understand, and be much more visible on a daily basis? Would that work to lower our energy use? A new company, Rainforest Automation, thinks the answer to these questions is ‘Yes.’
Rainforest Automation: Dollars and Sense Instead of Kilowatt Hours
Our power bills and smart meters on the side of our homes (seriously, how often do YOU go out to check the stats on your power meter?) speak the language of electricity, of kilowatt hours (kWh), which most of us really don’t understand. But the more of those kWh’s we use, the more we pay out each month, and the more carbon and pollution gets pumped into the air (unless you live in an area utilizing renewable energy, you lucky dog you.) The ‘Amount Due’ number on the bill is the only information we really look at or care about.
Enter Rainforest Automation and their revolutionary (in my opinion) new energy monitoring products. These devices, paired with your utility, give users energy usage in a language anybody can understand: Money. Better yet, they allow users to monitor their energy usage wherever they are, in real-time. This real-time data is constantly compiled, giving users a clear record of their energy usage right now, and historically, in both kWh’s AND dollar amounts.
Rainforest Automation EMU-2 Energy Monitoring Unit
The EMU-2 is Rainforest Automation’s flagship product. Pictured above, it’s a simple little device that can be plugged in anywhere in the house. Once it’s registered with your utility’s smart meter, it displays the home’s real-time usage, and tallies averages over time. It’s simple to use, easy to read, and retails for about $70.It can be ordered online HERE.
Rainforest Automation RAVEn USB Stick Monitoring Device
The RAVEn USB stick allows users to view their real-time energy usage (and bill) via computer or server. Again, the stick is registered with the utility, then is ready to use. Plugged into any USB port, it automatically connects to the home’s smart meter; opening the free Personal Meter Reader app on the computer allows users to view energy usage as it’s actually happening.
EAGLE Energy Smart Meter Gateway
For energy monitoring anywhere on the planet, Rainforest Automation offers the EAGLE Energy Gateway. Once registered, it automatically connects to the home’s smart meter, and allows energy data to be viewed wirelessly in a variety of ways: a web browser, iPhone or Android apps, as well as various cloud services (currently Bigly and Wattvision).
The Rainforest Automation EAGLE is an open platform with an internal webserver; it's not locked in to any particular service.
Real-Time Energy Monitoring: The Carrot Approach to Using Less Energy
Rainforest Automation’s line of products bring out the true potential of smart meter technology. By allowing users to constantly monitor their energy use, and see that usage translated to dollars, these energy monitoring devices provide feedback that can be used to lower energy usage, and live more efficiently.
As with hybrid cars that give drivers constant real-time mileage data that turn efficient driving into a game (I can personally attest to this,) Rainforest Automation products and their real-time data encourages good energy habits. By easily seeing how much energy is costing, users will want to see how low their can get that dollar amount. Less money = less energy. It’s kind of a brilliant idea.
For homeowners wanting to integrate these products into an overall Smart Home, Rainforest Automation products are all Zigbee Smart Energy 1.1 Certified.
Rainforest Automation is compatible with a growing number of utility companies. Check HERE to check on service availability where you live!
Learn more about Rainforest Automation products at their official website HERE.
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