We’ve just made it much easier for you to get your analytical geek on! You can now use SwitchHop to look back historically at your energy usage. It’s a useful feature that gives you insight into where to focus your energy conservation efforts. It also helps you measure past efforts to determine whether or not they were worth your while.
How Does It Work?
SwitchHop lets you look back historically at your home’s energy usage. You can go backwards day by day, by month (which shows each day of the month on the graph) or by year (which gives you a high-level view of your usage month-over-month).
Wherever we have enough historical data, we’ll show you any point in time you choose benched against that same time point historically. So, for example, if you’re looking at your usage for the month of May, 2012, SwitchHop would also display your usage from May, 2011 to give you some context.
Why would you want to do this? Aside from the pure joy of discovery, there’s lots of uses for this feature:
1. Benching yourself against historical data is really the only way to know if your home energy management efforts are paying off.
2. You can use it to see / test the effect of a new appliance on your energy consumption (e.g. you’ll finally be able to understand your ROI on that high-efficiency air conditioner you bought).
3. Understand seasonality and when to expect a much higher bill (pro tip: if you have central air conditioning, you’ll easily be able to see the months you’re using it in the yearly view)
4. Use the monthly view to understand your Monday-Friday usage patterns versus weekend usage patterns (you’ll be surprised at the difference) and troubleshoot how to reduce them.
There’s dozens more use cases that we haven’t even figured-out yet but hopefully, as you continue to use the tool and discover them for yourself, you’ll share them with us in the comments.
I’ll share with you the major “aha” moment I had as soon as I fired-up this new feature late last week.
The picture above is a screen-shot of my monthly historical energy consumption (since my smart meter was installed in June, 2011, that’s as far back as the history goes).
The blue line is my usage by month so far this year. The grey line is my usage by month from 2011. Right off the bat, you’ll probably notice that huge spike you see in the middle of the year (which happens to be summer). That’s my highly inefficient central air conditioning unit eating my wallet!
I always knew that my A/C unit was slightly undersized for my house (thus the compressor kicked in more often than it should) and that it was an older, inefficient model. But what I didn’t realize is that during peak summer months when it’s being used all the time, my home’s energy usage more than doubles! Wow!
Now, I have a baseline to be able to calculate whether installing a new air conditioner is worth the money and a basic idea of what the ROI would be.