7 iPhone Apps to Manage Energy Consumption

25 Comments

iphonegreen1Energy management tools designed to help you curb unnecessary power used in your home have yet to break into the mainstream, and only 13 percent of people say they would want to manage home energy consumption via a mobile device, according to Clint Wheelock of Pike Research (via GigaOM Pro subscription required). But hey, who needs a market for this stuff, when energy management startups can build a slick iPhone app on the cheap and use the mobile version as marketing for their main products. There’s also been an influx of iPhone app developers that have created basic calculators that you can use to manually plug in electricity meter data to track and manage your home consumption (we only named a couple of them below). Here’s 7 iPhone apps being developed by firms that want you to cut back on your pad’s energy use and which are available now, or will be soon enough, through Apple’s (s AAPL) iPhone app store.

tendriliphone2Tendril Vantage Mobile: Tendril Vantage Mobile, which debuted at the Demo conference in March, comes from Tendril — a 5-year-old Boulder, Colorado-based company that recently raised $30 million. (Updated) The app will be available to both select utility customers and consumers in 2010, offering a way to see their home energy consumption in real time, view dynamic pricing changes, and control connected appliances and thermostats remotely. Tendril says it is also working on adding text-message updates, more graphs, and information about the carbon emissions associated with users’ energy use.

visiblenergyiphone1Visible Energy’s Energy UFO: Visible Energy, a year-old Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup that launched at our Green:Net conference earlier this year, has developed an iPhone application called Energy UFO that is already available on Apple’s (s APPL) app store for free. The UFO app provides a mobile interface for the plugs and circuits that are connected to Visible Energy’s energy management gadgets and power strips — but, since that gear isn’t available for sale yet, we’re thinking the iPhone app won’t be too interesting until the first products are supposed to be available by Christmas of this year.

ecobee1Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat: As Tyler Hamilton reported on Clean Break this weekend, the Toronto-based startup Ecobee, which has developed a WiFi-based smart thermostat, is planning to launch an iPhone app that enables users to remotely turn up and down their thermostats. The thermostat interface is displayed horizontally on the iPhone screen and can be used for utility demand response services.

MeterReadings1Meter Readings: Developed by Graham Haly and released at the end of July, Meter Readings is available now for $0.99, and provides up to four interfaces where you can enter meter data from electricity, water and gas meters. Like the following two apps, Meter Readings is intended for manual entry of meter data so it is a little time consuming and limited.

MeterRead1MeterRead: Another manual input app, MeterRead was created by Zerogate, and enables the user to input the data from electricity meters to monitor and manage home energy consumption. It’s available now for $0.99. The interface is interesting in that you can set the virtual dial on the app to match the image on the meter, instead of inputting numerical data (via TheAppleBlog).

wattulator1Wattulator and Watts Plus: Like the two previous manual input applications, the Wattulator and Watts Plus — both developed by David Holzer and released late June — requires you to manually input power usage to crunch calculations, but these apps are focused on how much energy specific appliances are consuming. Available now for $0.99 for Wattulator and $1.99 for Watts Plus.

control4iphone1Control4’s My House UI: Digital home startup Control4, which recently raised $17.3 million, has recently launched an iPhone application for its customers called “My House UI.” The iPhone app enables the customer to control a variety of house system, including air conditioning and heating and lights. It’s free to download but of course you need Control4’s in-home devices.

25 Comments

iphone apps

Honestly, people are better off simply replacing their lightbulbs with halogen ones, and turning their thermostats down a few degrees. These meters and gadgets are a fun novelty, but the solutions are already known – we just have to implement them.

Ed Kohler

Technology for real-time electricity consumption exists today. Check out Google Powermeter and the product from T.E.D. (theenergydecective.com)

This will probably sound like an ad, but really I’m just a stats geek. I installed the T.E.D. product and immediately loved it because it gives real-time stats on power consumption in your home. Turn on a light, watch the meter go up. See what effect the refrigerator has on power, etc.

And it hooks to Google so you can see your power from your iGoogle page.

Graham Haley

Many thanks for featuring my Meter Readings app in this article. I would agree with others that smart meters are the way to go, however not everyone can get these, and even if they could they aren’t cheap. The idea behind my app is simply to make everyone aware what their consumption is and how much they are spending. However to do this you have to enter your readings manually, which I agree is a pain. I therefore do this on a weekly basis, which only takes a minute or two. The resulting graphs can be seen on my AppStore page :-) Thanks again.

Jimmy S.

I agree with Donny, Tendril’s T.R.E.E. platform is the future.

Donny

I have looked at all seven of these companies sites. I like Tendril’s the best by far.

RM

The new technology for clean energy is amazing & these apps give consumers the ability to contribute & help save $$ and reduce their carbon footprint. For more information on green companies visit http://www.proactivenewsroom.com

Thanks!

RM

Donna

I would like something that tells me how much energy we are using in the home and how to use less. I don’t want to enter anything manually tho – I want energy source readings (like on Star Trek or Atlantis)

Katie Fehrenbacher

@Ester, 4 of them aren’t so useful for the general population, but will be used more broadly later this year, and there’s 3 that you can use manually now.

Ester Miller

Kind of useless at this point, don’t you think/?

Until installed smart meters generate instant data that utilities can upload to the web, what’s the point?

I’m going to type my monthly bill into my iphone?

Don’t think so.

Business101

If there was a way to remotely read my houses power usage without manually entering the meter readout every day I would love to have it. Unfortunately it would require each energy provider to provide software to make that data available, or a device that hooks up to the meter to transmit that data.

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