The House That Twitters Its Energy Use

Can Twitter help you turn your lights off? IBM’s “Master Inventor” Andy Stanford-Clark has rigged up his home to twitter its energy use, and if you follow the tweets you can see in real time when Stanford-Clark has turned his lights and fountain off or on and whether he has an “unusually high electricity use” or has reduced power consumption.

It’s not as weird as it sounds. The Twitter stream is an exercise in using the data from home automation feeds, and the hope is that, by making energy usage data transparent and easy to digest, it will change consumer behavior and reduce energy consumption. The former Flash guys at GreenBox are working on using the same type of info for their energy management software, as are startups Agilewaves, and Lucid Design Group.

Stanford-Clark runs the Pervasive and Advanced Messaging Technologies team at IBM in Hursley Park, and he recently told the folks at startup AlertMe more about the home setup. Updates are sent via sensors in the home, and the system uses an IBM middleware product to connect the service. Stanford-Clark also told AlertMe that he can turn the lights and the fountain on or off from a website.

Stanford-Clark has also worked on the Power Orb, which changes colors to reflect energy use. He told Eureka Magazine that the inspiration for the Orb came from a project started to monitor electricity consumption for Enron.

So, what’s Andy House doing now? Go look: Its electricity meter reading is 31,400 kWh. It’s strangely addicting.