We use our phones for many things: paying bills, finding the new happy hour hot spot, checking our bank balance before an Internet shopping spree. But smartphones can also be a useful money- and energy-saving tool. A number of apps on the market today can help reduce your energy usage and save you money on your monthly bill. Read on for a few simple (and fun!) recommendations from Austin electricians.
Energy Consumption Analyzer
This android app, available from the Google Play Store, tracks your energy consumption by allowing you to record the current readings from your gas, electrical, and water meters at your convenience. You can color-code the readings and make notes about any unusual circumstances (houseguests, vacations) to explain possible deviations in your normal usage. The app will calculate your average rate of consumption based on the data you enter and draw a graph to show how that rate changes over time. It can break the data down in various ways, showing usage per hour, day, week, month, or quarter. You can enter the average cost per unit if you’d like to track spending rather than consumption, and you can use Google Drive to export the data gathered to another device.
Evo Energy Cost Calculator
Available on a number of platforms, this app tracks energy usage for various home appliances. You create a list of appliances and enter a few values related to your usage of each. The app calculates the cost of running that appliance. Like the Energy Consumption Analyzer, you can view your usage and related cost by day, week, month, or even year and find the small tweaks that might lead you to big savings on your monthly bill. Considering a new purchase? Input the values for various models of that new TV or refrigerator to see how your selection might impact your bill.
On the other end of the spectrum are apps that make saving energy fun by turning it into a game. One of these is JouleBug, available for android and iOS. JouleBug allows you to record various eco-friendly actions (anything from turning off the lights when you leave a room to riding your bike instead of driving) and earn points for them. The points add up to badges and eventually trophies, so you get positive feedback for your good deeds. You can share your achievements on social media, get your friends involved to form a community, and compete against each other to see who can do the most to help save the planet. In addition to recording your achievements, the app provides localized content to help you discover environmental initiatives near you, as well as in-depth information about the impacts of your actions.
If you’d rather focus on a single area of savings, check out 30by30, a water-tracking app. Similar to JouleBug, 30by30 allows you to click on various daily activities, then uses your input to calculate your water usage and make suggestions on how to reduce it. It also allows you to share your progress on social media.
There’s an App for That!
Whether you’re looking for serious input on your electrical usage or you’re interested in a little friendly competition, we’ve got you covered. And if you notice that your app’s calculations don’t align with your monthly bill, be sure to contact your local Austin electrician to see what the issue might be.