2012-03-02

Co.Exist

Triad: An Energy Monitoring Device You Might Actually Use

A sleek new concept device sits on your kitchen wall and helpfully visualizes your electricity use. Is this what could finally turn people on to smart meters?

Smart meters are being deployed by the thousands in the U.S., awareness of the need for energy conservation is high, and yet, not that many people actually use energy-tracking devices in their homes. It’s partially a design problem. We have yet to see a cheap energy-tracking device that’s intuitive enough for people to use en masse.

Erica Pozzey, an industrial design graduate from the Queensland University of Australia, has solved at least part of the equation with Triad, a Star Trek-like wall-mounted energy monitoring device that offers up visual explanations of energy use (target use, current use, and use compared to average energy consumption in the community). Anyone looking for more detailed information can access a connected web-based dashboard (excuse the porn music):

There’s just one problem: At first glance, it looks like the concept device could be pretty expensive. In 2010, energy platform company Tendril unveiled a sleek home energy dashboard that looked like it was designed by Apple. The $200 device ended up being too expensive to bring to market. Utilities didn’t want to underwrite such an expensive gadget, and consumers didn’t want to pay that much.

So we would love to see something like Triad on the market--if it could be priced low enough.