Joey Chung, a student of Industrial Design at the Emily Carr University of Vancouver, Canada has conceptualized this intriguing product named Ambient Energy Meter. The meter is designed to be a visual feedback device to alert the homeowner about his energy usage continuously. The light built into the meter dims as energy usage in the household goes up and brightens when it comes down. This is an easy and intuitive feedback to the energy user to turn off lights or appliances not in use and helps him take steps to control his energy usage.
In addition to the built-in light, the meter displays energy usage in kWh / hour, the peak energy demand and the present cost of utility power so that the homeowner has immediate feedback on the actions he takes to manage energy consumption. The meter also displays the outside weather information so that the homeowner can decide if opening a window is an alternative to adjusting a thermostat. All of this information is scrolled through at the push of a button.
Most concerned energy users would welcome such a device. The energy meters that are installed to measure our energy consumption for billing purposes are often installed in places where they are accessible to the meter reader rather than the home owner. It therefore does not serve as a continuous feedback device. Also, since these meters display total energy consumption rather than our present consumption, the user has little clue on what he could do immediately to reduce his energy consumption.
Joey Chung’s website illustrates these various ways that the meter could be used in the home. The light in the meter runs on rechargeable batteries . Another interesting idea is that multiple meters can be stacked on top of each other to recharge together instead of each meter needing to be plugged in. The stacked meters can, in fact, can be one light source for a room!