UK to give away free home energy monitors.

The British government is exploring the possibility of giving away free energy use monitors to any home owner who requests one. These monitors are not what are called “smart monitors” (monitors that can also be read remotely), but could provide users with real-time energy usage, cost and greenhouse gas emissions. Looks like the Brits are serious about reducing CO2 emissions 60% by 2050, but I’m not certain that this approach is the best…

These things are not terribly expensive to make and even with the devices that are available now, research shows that you can save about 7% on your annual energy bill,” he added.

But he warned the devices would only be used by households if they displayed meaningful information, such as cost of energy and carbon emissions.

“The biggest risk is that after the government announces this, they might specify this too weakly to make it useful.

“We might end up making 22m pieces of plastic that end up in people’s drawers because they aren’t any good.”

First of all, why go this route without thinking about it as a longer-term investment? Smart monitors that allow the energy suppliers to calibrate and adjust loads based upon feedback from the grid can make a big difference in the overall efficiency of the energy system, and devices like the one I dream about here could potentially lower energy use by as much as 20%.

And making it voluntary? Makes me wonder if more GHG emissions and waste would be created by producing 22 million of these buggers than they would save by their use.

That said, I’m with Gizmodo: We’ll take whatever we can get in the U.S., post haste.

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