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Google adds home efficiency tips to PowerMeter

Google.org's home electricity monitoring Web app gets feature for organizing energy efficiency jobs, pitting PowerMeter in more direct competition with Microsoft's Hohm.

Google.org has tacked on energy-efficiency recommendations to PowerMeter, one of many features planned for its home energy Web application.

The latest feature, accessible from the Take Action button, gives people a way to organize tasks for making a home more efficient. The recommendations are generated based on the type and size of a house as well as some basic electricity usage information.

The latest feature for Google PowerMeter is a list of recommendations to make a home more energy efficient.
The latest feature for Google PowerMeter is a list of recommendations to make a home more energy efficient. Google.org

As people take more steps to reduce energy use, the application generates new recommendations, said Google PowerMeter product manager Ryan Falor in a company blog.

PowerMeter graphs out real-time and historical electricity usage information of a person's home. The idea behind energy monitors is that when people get more detailed data on electricity use, they can take steps to conserve.

Google has deals with a number of utilities where smart meters feed usage information into PowerMeter, giving people some insight into how much energy different appliances use and how their usage compares to neighbors. Google also has deals with a couple of whole-house electricity monitor makers to display information on PowerMeter.

Over time, Google plans to add a number of other features to PowerMeter, which is being developed through the Google.org philanthropy. In addition to electricity monitoring, the company is considering getting data from gas and water meters, company executives have said.

Adding recommendations pits PowerMeter in more direct competition feature-wise with Microsoft's Hohm application. If tied to a smart meter or home electricity monitor, Hohmcan gather and display energy data. But it also includes a long questionnaire that people can fill out to get recommendations on how to make a home more energy efficient.