Momentarily stepping away from the land of the experimental, the Loop energy savings kit is a very reasonably priced, off-the-shelf tool available for UK home-based energy savings. Created by Navetas, “a UK based technology company delivering cloud-based energy monitoring and smart data analytics for the connected home,” the system, which works independently of one’s energy provider, tracks electricity use, provides real-time and historical graphical data and personalized notifications. It’s a tool that is meant easily to provide users the information and advice they need to save energy at home. It does all this while only consuming about 2.5 Watts itself (I don’t think this includes demands on the server – we rarely think of the energy costs associated with the internet).
While it doesn’t break down the demands of particular appliances, it’s simple to install, there are so few barriers to using the kit. It’s had consistently strong ratings on Amazon.co.uk so far, and have a complimentary series of installation videos on YouTube – both of which suggest that installation of this device is dead simple. Moreover, it’s also been made to work with another service uSwitch in order to provide automatic energy tariff price comparison information and a switching service. Pretty nice, if you are in the UK.
It is a subscription-based service – that is, once purchased, the owner has the service for one year, after which this subscription has to be renewed annually. I would be really, really interested to know what the renewal rate is. I might imagine that after a year of data collection, I might be able to retrain themselves to become energy efficient. I’m really interested in knowing how long these kinds of web-based services retain the interest of users, compared to stand alone interfaces (e.g. Wattson, Powerviz) . I noticed someone suggesting that the interface was a touch addicting, which is a good indication that people will at least check in on it with some interest in the first days of usage.
There isn’t much information on their site about the user interface, though what I have seen is cleanly design and playful in appearance. Given the reviews, it seems that people are very motivated to use and in using the Loop.