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       New high tech tools that measure and report resource usage are cropping up everywhere. True to the mantra, “what gets measured gets managed,” they are driving businesses and consumers to be more sustainable. According to Google, people who monitor their home’s energy usage quickly save 5-15%. And, with businesses spending over $2.8 billion per year to power computers left on overnight, there are definitely savings that could be captured there, too.

       “Smart meters” come in all varieties. There are technologies that measure the power used by companies’ IT infrastructure and suggest ways to reduce it. There are others that monitor water usage by individual activity at home or at work. Still others track driving behavior and suggest changes to save gas. For the social network crowd, there’s even a Twitter application that automatically tweets my power savings goals and lets my followers harangue me if I don’t meet them. (Hey, it’s more exciting than hearing what I had for lunch…)

       The latest news in smart metering comes from Google. They have launched a beta version of Google PowerMeter that interfaces with local utility companies and plots a building’s energy usage in real time, via an iGoogle Gadget.

       I wonder if any of these new technologies incorporates a voice that sounds just like my Dad and says, “For heaven’s sake, could you turn off the lights?!”

We should think about...
  • What smart meters are available that could save resources for our business?
  • How can we ensure that everyone in our organization powers down their PC at night?
  • Should we keep up-to-date on the progress of Google’s PowerMeter?
Sources: Google 2009; TreeHugger 2009; USA Today 2009
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