July 4th, 2016
Blue Planet Foundation is partnering with Bidgely (an Energy Excelerator portfolio company) and Hawaiian Electric to bring free home energy-monitoring kits to 750 homes across Oahu. With the free kit and included software, participants will see how much energy their homes—and specific appliances—are using and how they can save money on their electricity bills through personalized tips, recommendations, and fun energy challenges. The ultimate goal of the pilot program is to equip households and businesses with the tools they need to take control of their energy choices and shift power consumption to better match renewable energy supply and reduce peak energy demand.
“We’re making the invisible, visible,” noted David Aquino, Director of Innovation at Blue Planet Foundation. “Many residents get a $200 energy bill at the end of the month and have no idea how, when, or where that energy was used. They have no idea how much went to their water heater or their refrigerator, or what ‘energy monsters’ are running up their electricity bills. This program shows them, down to the appliance level, where that energy is going and specific actions they can take to reduce their energy use and save money.”
Blue Planet Foundation will schedule and provide free installation of the energy kit. An electrician will hook up a device to the circuit breaker box at your home or business—a process which takes less than 30 minutes. Once installed and calibrated, the included Bidgely HomeBeat app will display in-home energy consumption, separated by appliance, on participants’ smart phones or online. The app will also send personalized real-time alerts via email or push notifications, letting participants know specific steps they can take to reduce energy use during the energy “rush hour.” By taking these steps (or “challenges”), participants can save money on their electricity bills. Participants could also get the chance to win prizes for completing challenges.
Bidgely, a clean tech startup that develops software and hardware solutions to help residents save energy and money in their homes, has launched similar programs in other parts of the United States and the world. As part of a pilot program in 2014, Bidgely partnered with California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and found that separating in-home energy use down to the appliance level to improve efficiency yielded up to 7.7% energy savings among some 850 participants. Results from the Oahu pilot program are expected to be released at the end of the year.
“This program is also part of something bigger,” added Aquino. “Reducing our energy use and being more efficient means we will need fewer fossil fuels on the path to 100% renewable energy—efficiency is a true bridge to cleaner energy.”
Blue Planet Foundation is now accepting reservations for the free kits, with installations available as early as July 5, 2016. [UPDATE 12/31/2016: Program is now closed]
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