Why should I monitor my energy usage?
The biggest question centered around energy monitoring is whether or not it actually works. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently conducted a home electricity use study. This study looked at various factors, one of which was the home energy monitor. They found that using an energy monitor could result in savings of 8-25%. EPRI conducted further research into this area and concluded that these energy monitoring devices could save up to 20%. Further research conducted at Oxford University found that real-time energy monitoring can help users cut their energy bills by 5-15%. According to ACEEE the saving could reach 12%. If you average these studies together you are looking at a savings of 6-18%.
According to Energy Star the average energy bill is $2,200 a year. At this rate you would expect to see a monthly energy bill of $183.33. Obviously there would be some fluctuation based on the seasons but this is the average. At a savings of 6-18% you could expect to see $11-$33 a month, or up to $396 saved a year! Minimally you are looking at $132 in savings, so if you are looking for a reasonable return on investment you should be looking for an effective energy monitor that is under $132.
The Envi home energy monitor is only $129; it easily clamps on at the electrical panel and monitors the electrical current coming off the main cables, no wiring needed. Since it does not interface with the meter the chances of it not being compatible are almost non-existent, all that is necessary is that the electrical panel is 200 amps or less to read properly. (There should be a sticker letting you know) A word of advice, energy monitoring needs to be an ongoing event to work properly; if you decide to diet you get on the scale daily to check your weight, an energy monitor is the same concept but for your home. Recent studies have shown that if you do not maintain your monitoring the savings you achieved could disappear. This increases the motivation to get an easy to read and use monitor such as the Envi.