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Poll: Do you want a home energy management system?

The smart grid should bring better information on electricity and fuel use to consumers, but it's still unclear which technology works for home energy efficiency.

As you know, CNET is all about tech news and reviews. Earlier this week, we ran a story on the technology tools being developed for managing home energy.

But as some readers noted, there are plenty of low-tech ways to improve home energy efficiency (which we also cover). The idea behind gadgets, such as home energy displays and Web energy dashboards, is that consumers will take steps toward efficiency once they have a better idea of where their energy dollars go.

Better information can lead to simple efficiency steps, such as programming the thermostat or turning off unused electronics. Or people can participate in utilities' demand-response programs, which offer lower rates for shifting your big electrical loads--think dishwashers and refrigerator defrost cycles--to off-peak times.

In early tests, some smart-grid companies are finding good results--on the order of 10 percent reductions or more. But there's a counter argument that says these home digital energy tools, such as kitchen counter home energy displays, won't pay for themselves in a reasonable time frame through energy reductions. Or worse, investing in a high-tech home with a home energy network is a distraction from things that we know work, such as adding insulation to your attic.

Obviously, caulk guns and home energy dashboards aren't mutually exclusive. But this topic begs the question: do you want more information about your energy use? And if you had it, do you think you'd take steps to conserve?

Please take the poll and comment below on your experiences with electricity monitors, smart meters, and related gear.