A message for folks who are seriously trying to adjust home energy consumption habits but finding it difficult: Know your enemy.
If you’re making a conscious effort around the house — switching out bulbs, unplugging non-essential appliances, investing in ENERGY STAR products — but finding that your monthly energy bills are not as drastically low as expected, it helps to know exactly what you’re dealing with. You need to track the consumption in real time.
There are two basic ways to go about this: Invest in an outlet-based energy consumption monitor like Kill-A-Watt for around $20 bucks or in a more expensive, elaborate whole-house energy tracking system (just yesterday, always reliable Inhabitat discussed some methods). Sure, you can always see the figures on paper, but when there's something different about having right here right now access.
The Wattcher homepage is in Dutch, sadly, and I couldn’t make out much (I did speak a lick of Dutch at one point in my life … and by lick, I mean less than a dozen words) in terms of details (availability, price, technology, etc.) I do, know, however, that it's a collaboration between Wanders and Dutch energy giant Eneco.
The folks at Designboom offer this tidbit: “The design is very clean and has urgency in pointing out your energy consumption. Wattcher is more than just a product: it is a strategy that stimulates awareness.”
Cryptic, I know. However, if you’re a North American reader that's halfway out the door to Home Depot, hold your horses. The Wattcher's 2-ping construction is obviously for European electrical outlets so it's a strictly Euro affair. If something of this caliber, a "designer energy monitor," was available stateside would you invest if the price was right? Or are good looks totally beside the point when it comes to these kind of green gadgets?