Microsoft’s energy monitoring tool Hohm enters public beta

By on July 7, 2009, 11:35 AM
Hohm was announced in late June as an incubator project within Microsoft to help users manage and track their home energy use, and potentially modify their habits in order to save money. The service is free to use, supported by advertising, but it wasn’t until today that the Redmond-based company opened the doors on Hohm to the general public – or at least to those living in the U.S.


The site can use as little information as a ZIP code to start predicting your energy consumption, but the more questions you answer about your residence, the more accurate the tool can be. This includes details from the year your house was built and its square footage to the numbers of doors and windows and the type of bulbs used in each room. Hohm’s energy-efficiency recommendations are courtesy to the actual brains behind it – an existing database licensed from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Department of Energy – and includes a list of improvements organized in categories that can be made to save energy and money.

Depending on where you live, Hohm can also detail your electricity or gas usage over time with a supported provider, sparing you the effort of manually entering your bills. Like Google’s competing PowerMeter service, down the road the goal is to work with smart meters and other smart devices to provide closer to real-time energy data consumption data and remotely adjust appliances to save energy during peak times.




User Comments: 4

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raybay said:

Wonder if it will work like Windows ME, or more like VISTA

JDoors JDoors said:

Tried it. It asks a ba-jillion questions about your home and energy use, but nothing about your lifestyle or HOW you use energy in your home. Hence, I got some poor ratings for things like the use of many incandescent bulbs. All my incandescents are on dimmers and I rarely use the full setting, for some fixtures I almost never do. I wound up with a recommendation to "save" by switching to CFL's, yet my energy costs are already WAY lower than the "average" home.

I guess that's part of the problem, getting people to pay for expensive energy upgrades that will not, can not pay off, at least financially, in the long run. Upgrade my refrigerator? Really? And it'll take TEN YEARS to save any money? Yeah. I'm not doin' that.

geechiesway said:

Switching to CFL light bulbs will definitely save you money in the long run...that's much less drastic than the refrigerator; which is way more expensive than some light bulbs. Gotta pitch in for the environment where you can

JDoors JDoors said:

geechiesway said:

Switching to CFL light bulbs will definitely save you money in the long run...that's much less drastic than the refrigerator; which is way more expensive than some light bulbs. Gotta pitch in for the environment where you can

That last statement is what a lot of this is about. Pitchin' in. Doing your part. Saving the planet. NOT, however, actually saving money. A ten-year payoff doesn't take into consideration what you COULD have been doing with all the money you "invested" in high-cost products up front.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against energy efficiency. It's ridiculous that we're still using products like incandescent bulbs that are at best 10% efficient.

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