Guest Post: Paul Smith on Energy Circle Makes Their Home Energy Use Public via Twitter


Of all the things I’ve come across as we near an increasingly greenwashy Earth Day, one stands out because of its simplicity and transparency. The founders of Energy Circle, a home-energy efficiency ally whose staff all test and use the products they sell in their own homes, will make their home energy use public, broadcasting it both through their website and live on Twitter at EnergyCircleKW.

They’ve hacked their best-selling device, The Energy Detective, a “real-time home electricity monitor that is the equivalent of a digital stethoscope,” so that the data can be sent out, with information about what the data means – giving it real world relevance to you and me.

The Energy Detective is a device that monitors energy use down to each appliance, and doesn’t cost much, making it more likely to be used by a broader segment of the population. Rather than promoting some perfect uber-green house out of reach of the everyday person, the founders’ house is your average American home – built in the 80s, with an addition in the 90s. It’s got lots of air leaks and other flaws in the design.

They’ve had an energy audit done (check this great piece to learn more). Like many people, they’ve made progress with CFL and LED lights and low-flow shower heads. But they still have lots to do and they intend to make their house an example.

While things like Google Power Meter are coming at some point, perhaps even this year, Energy Circle is interested in bringing the public several “right now” options to be able to take an active hand in making better choices when it comes to their home energy use.

A 49-second customer service credo clip, featured on Energy Circle’s store page, is an unusual move, emblematic of their personal, accessible approach. If you’re looking for concrete, easy to do things for Earth Day and beyond, Energy Circle is a solid start.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Paul Smith. Follow Paul on Twitter!