Tendril Vision home energy monitor predicts the future

Will people use energy more thoughtfully if they're able to monitor it via a familiar device?  That's what nergy management technology provider Tendril reckon; they've borrowed style inspiration from a digital clock for their Vision energy monitor, which can not only show real-time usage but predict future patterns.

That means you could wait to put on the tumble dryer until a low-power period was predicted, or Vision could highlight when cheaper energy rates were active.  There's also an accompanying website which shows more in-depth data together with allowing for "personal energy use plans" to be created; presumably they then educate the meter to make better predictions.

Vision measures around 8 x 6 inches and weighs under two pounds, and Tendril believe that with continuous use you could see 10 to 15-percent reductions in energy bills.  All well and good, but it remains to be seen how expensive Vision turns out to be, who it's offered to – Tendril work with energy companies, rather than selling products direct to consumers – and whether single-purpose devices like these can hold peoples' attention.

Press Release:

Tendril's "Vision": A Next Generation In-Home Energy Display That Promotes Customer Action

The Tendril "Vision" to be Unveiled at DistribuTECH

Boulder, Colo. – March 18, 2010 – Tendril, a leading energy management technology provider, will debut its next generation in-home display next week at DistribuTECH, the nation's leading trade show focused on utility energy distribution and efficiency. The Tendril Vision is a revolutionary device that allows people to link directly with their utility to get meaningful, real-time information about their energy use and cost. The results are greater energy efficiency as well as opportunities for utility customers to reduce their consumption by an average of 10 to 15 percent, according to Tendril CEO Adrian Tuck.

"For the first time, people at home can receive real-time information through a highly intuitive device. It allows them to take an active role in how much energy they use in order to change their behavior and see immediate results," Tuck said. "Utilities realize that they need to engage directly with their customers in order to drive efficiency and energy reduction. Vision provides the means of immediate communication and action that has been missing in consumers' homes until now."

Working with design consultant IDEO to develop Vision, Tendril completed extensive research unique to the utility industry and its consumers. This research involved a thorough examination of human behavior and desires, including how people interact with their surrounding environment, how they want their energy providers to communicate with them in their homes, and effective methods for promoting behavioral change. The team also studied behavior economics in order to understand how a simple, but well-designed device can encourage and enable continuous energy savings.

Among the unique features of the Tendril Vision:

It is anchored in a household appliance similar to a digital clock. This promotes active engagement with utility customers because it provides continuous information via a device that is unobtrusive, intuitive and an accepted part of everyday living.

Vision displays upcoming, real-time events so customers can plan accordingly. For example, Vision will display a visual cue for an upcoming demand response event and peak pricing period. Seeing this, a homeowner could wait to run the dishwasher, turn down the thermostat, or leave the house to run errands in order to save money during that time.

The real-time data display is also accompanied by a web portal service that allows customers to look at detailed information online as well as create, and manage, their own customized energy use plan.

The Tendril Vision is approximately 8 inches by 6 inches and weighs less than two pounds. Vision integrates seamlessly with the Tendril platform, which includes utility applications for Demand Response, Energy Awareness, Load Control, Distributed Generation and Electric Vehicles.

For more information about Vision and the Tendril platform, visit Booth 1803 and 2015 at DistribuTECH March 23 -25, 2010 at the Tampa Convention Center.

[via Treehugger]