Peter Troast was looking for creative ways to save energy and get his whole family involved in the process. On Earth Day, he found a way to do just that ... by putting his own house on the line. 

Troast, the CEO of Energy Circle, has been tracking his home electrical use for the past six months, but on Earth Day, he set up a way to transmit his entire household’s electricity use for public viewing at any time on the Web, with updates and analysis transmitted to followers on Twitter.

Troast and his family of four live in a typical 80’s-style home on the coast of Maine with lots of building flaws and air leaks – despite numerous improvements and upgrades. On Earth Day, he connected a home electricity-monitoring device called a TED (The Energy Detective) to the junction box in his basement and rigged it to transmit data to the Internet. Now, viewers around the world can watch the Troast Family’s entire household electrical use at any time online. When a toaster is turned on, or they forget to turn off the bathroom light, Internet viewers will be able to see exactly how much electricity the Troasts are consuming – and how they could reduce their energy use to save money.

The best part? The Troasts' are giving their kids an incentive to play their part: They will get 50 percent of the energy savings dollars, cash. Now that's an incentive that's hard for even the most apathetic teen to ignore.

(MNN homepage photo: albertkiefer/iStockphoto) 

Family tweets their watts
Follow one family's home electrical use on the Web and on Twitter.