Tracking your steps, tracking your children, monitoring your banking activity or locating your parked car––these days, it seems like there is an app for everything. If you are efficiency-savvy and want to manage your energy use, there may be an app that works for you. While there are several energy use apps to choose from, some can be difficult to use, particularly those aimed at general efficiency. There are no clear standouts, so try a few, and choose the app that works best for you.
Purchasing a smart thermostat for your home is a great way to begin managing your energy use. But, if you are looking for a more granular way to obtain information about your energy use, an app can provide useful insight into how specific actions impact your utility bill. The following is a snapshot of a few energy efficiency mobile apps. All of the apps mentioned in this article are available for Apple and Android systems.
Owned by Google, created by Nest Labs and linked only to the Nest thermostat, this free app has several useful features. You can adjust your home thermostat by simply using your smart phone, iPad or iTouch––whether in your car or on your couch. App users can view and edit a thermostat schedule and keep an eye on how much energy is being used. You can also opt to receive extreme temperature alerts before your pet overheats or your pipes freeze. In addition, there is an option for smoke and carbon monoxide alerts, among others.
Like the Nest app, the Lennox iComfort app is only compatible with Lennox products – in this case, the Wi-Fi thermostat. It has similar features to the Nest, in that users can remotely control their home thermostat and other settings. In addition, the app allows users to program the system to an energy savings “away mode” when no one is home. For example, you can select the settings you wish to run, then cancel the “away mode” as you return home to ensure a comfortable temperature awaits you.
Your trusted energy resource
While these apps employ the latest technology to maximize your ability to manage your use, the next generation of energy apps will likely integrate across multiple platforms––managing your thermostat, appliances, water heater, home electronics and other devices from the convenience of your smart phone. In the meantime, while app technology continues to evolve, your best resource for saving energy and money is your local electric co-op.
Alcorn County Electric Power Association can provide guidance on energy savings based on your account information, local energy use and weather patterns for your region and other factors unique to your location. Contact ACE’s energy experts to learn more.
Anne Prince writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.