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Glow Real-Time Home Energy Tracker

Editor's Rating
4.9?
Discovered on 2017-09-16

Save money on your house’s bills with the Glow Real-Time Home Energy Tracker. Smart and sleek, this device attaches a sensor to your digital meter for precise tracking. Glow gives you visual feedback in real time for your family’s energy consumption. With this, you can make informed decisions to help decrease your monthly bills as well as reduce your environmental impact. Unlike traditional sensing systems, Glow integrates easily with your life. The device itself has LED lights at the top to emit color-coded feedback. The lights follow those of traffic signs; the more you use, the device glows red. If you’re doing well, financially and environmentally, it emits a green light. In addition to this vital information, Glow does function with an app. You can set spending goals and even set up alerts for when you’re not at home.

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Overview
Overview & Specs
Energy Indictor :
Glowing LED Colors
Compatibility :
Digital Meters
Savings :
Up to 40%
Integrations :
Amazon Echo, Philips Hue
App :
iOS, Android
Discovered on:
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View All Specs

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Comments
Kickstarter Comments (30)

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Ben Lachman
Hi, Jordan, Haven't seen Kasa specifically, but it sounds great. We'll take a look. We'd definitely like to integrate with smart plugs that offer energy tracking at the outlet.
Jordan Rodriguez
Hi Ben,
Love the concept!
Do you plan to integrate with smart home apps such as Kasa that track energy usage in devices? This could enhance understanding of energy usage by distinguishing the portion of energy used by devices connected to smart plugs and outlets from devices that are not.
Robin
Josh, To be sure we're communicating effectively, the distance limit is 4' from the electric utility meter panel where Glow's sensor is to be installed. To be even more precise, it would be the electrical wiring to appliances plus the magnetic field inducing components of those appliances such as the electric motors in the washer and dryer. It's difficult to make the determination for compatibility for an individual situation but, if the washer and dryer's motors are near the floor, they may be far enough. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer and we'll know if we can relax this distance limitation after we have experience with more units installed in homes.
Josh Schoenwald
To confirm my home's compatibility: if I have a washer/dryer and water heater within 4ft of my electrical box, will this be a problem for Glow?
Robin
Bryan, regarding your question about the volume space of influence to Glow's sensor, it is a three-dimensional space and we use 4' as a rule of thumb specifically for adjacent meter panels. Frankly, until we have thousands of units in the field we may not have a definitive answer to your question but, it is the source of the magnetic field and not the appliance itself. In your case, if the refrigerator is typical, the compressor and motor are near the floor and this would be the source of magnetic field that would concern me and it would most likely be more than 4' from the sensor. I would expect Glow to function correctly for your home.
Ben Lachman
A big thanks to everyone who backed us today. We crossed our funding goal! Just one more week left, please share Glow with friends and family.
Ben Lachman
@Padraic: Glow calibrates itself during installation, all it requires it being plugged into a few different outlets around your home. You can easily test accuracy by turning on any device with a large well known wattage (cf. space heaters have been used a *lot* as test loads around here due to their consistent wattage).
Ben Lachman
@Craig: Two Answers:
1. We've tested through sub zero (F) temperatures. The most notable change is that the semi-permanent adhesive we used becomes fairly permanent while at this temperature.
2. We've been closely watching HomeKit. Please shoot an email to hello@meetglow.com with your ideas on how you think a beneficial integration might work, we'd really appreciate it!
Craig Schlegelmilch
Hello, 2 questions: 1. Any considerations to be made when the meter sensor is outside in cold climates? I'm assuming this will work so long as it can still draw from the batteries?
2. Any plans for HomeKit integration?
Padraic Renaghan
Does the unit have some method to calibrate itself, so I can test that it is working properly, registering usage properly, and not being impacted by things near it?
Bryan
We have 4ft of clearance outside of our house, but there is a refrigerator/freezer on the inside of the wall. Is the 4' clearance a "sphere" or a "disc" of clearance? (As in, does it matter if electronics like a fridge are inside the house near the meter?) If it's a "sphere" then I don't think our place is compatible.
Robin
Baivab, The Faraday shield functions on the electric field and Glow's sensor is sensitive to the magnetic field. This can be demonstrated by constructing a Faraday cage and observing that a compass functions normally while inside. Your suggestion has merit if a shield using high mu metal is used. We've experimented with shielding such as this. Using mu metal with a relative permeability over 100,000 only attenuates the field, it's expensive, and there are fringe fields at the edges of the shield that can even increase the magnetic field intensity making the problem even worse. We'll continue to work on this issue but we didn't want it to delay the release of the product since Glow works well for the majority of homes.
Baivab
Hello - I carefully reviewed the underlying technology at play here which has been documented here. 1 strong suggestion I have w.r.t. meters being close to each other. I believe if a metal mesh is placed between the 2 meters then the effect of the 2nd. meter on the meter being monitored will be negated. Faraday cage principles applies here also. With that perspective, what are your comments? Such metal meshes can be constructed in pennies.
Ben Lachman
Tim, interestingly, there's some good research out there (https://arxiv.org/pdf/1605.00962.pdf) that suggests that identifying and showing specific appliance data (referred to as disaggregation) isn't itself beneficial to helping to reduce energy use. We're working on collecting data directly from other devices like thermostats, solar panels, and car chargers, but still evaluating how best to do machine learning based disaggregation for the whole home tracking data that Glow produces. This is one of the spaces we think there is a lot of potential in, but definitely not as it has been implemented by others so far. As an early supporter, backers will help us shape our strategy for intelligent feedback from disaggregating whole home data. That said, in user testing, humans have no problem doing their own appliance identification. Within a short time (usually a few weeks) users know intuitively what appliances caused high usage. This is because of the real-time nature of Glow's feedback. When you have feedback on your home's usage within 5 seconds of making a change, you understand your home in a way you've never been able to before.
Ben Lachman
In addition to Robin's comment, I'll also call attention to the fact that the sensor attaches to the face of the meter box, not the meter itself. The box is owned by the property owner while the meter itself, which we don't interfere with or attach to, is owned by the utility. We've additionally designed the sensor such that the front panel of the box may be removed without having to uninstall the sensor. This means the utility could even pull your meter without significant disturbance to the sensor.
Robin
Baivab, There will be access to the batteries without the need to remove it from the meter panel. Regarding your particular utility, we would be glad to provide documentation assuring them that the device does not interfere with the operation of the meter. The utilities we've spoken with were very supportive of the device as they recognized its potential to help them reduce the energy consumption of their customers -- a requirement typical of all public utility commissions which regulate utilities at the state level.
Baivab
Question #2: What about battery and changing it in the external unit? If its going to be so darn difficult to take it off then when it comes to battery change, what's the process?
Baivab
SEPARATELY POSTING THIS: I talked to utility company ; here its PSE&G. They said a categorical NO. As per them, unless the device manufacturer can provide certification documents that the device does NOT exhibit any electro-magnetic impulses, causes Hall effects, etc. they will NOT allow it. I do not know what each jurisdiction in US has but I consider this to be a big problem. I'll await what manufacturer of this will say here before taking a decision.
Baivab
@Scott Mendoza - I don't think the device which attaches to the meter will have any value without the main unit. However, the problem I see is nevertheless the thief may not know it. Just for the heck of it, might steal it. Also, unsure if these are paired, in other words if I loose one down the line then can I pick one from Craigslist or eBay and it'll work? If yes, then definitely it'll get stolen as it opens up a secondary market. For the curiosity killed the cat type of folks I'd strongly recommend NOT to have ANY markings on the external unit and in fact it should be grey color not white. That way it can be projected as a rain shield or something similar on top of the meter. Also, it can NOT be glossy. Now, my bigger concern is the sticker. I am yet to see a SINGLE sticker which can cycle thru nature beyond few seasons. Here, in east coast with snow and all having it white and loosing it in snow, etc. is truly a concern. Final concern: I talked to utility company ; here its PSE&G. They said a categorical NO. As per them, unless the device manufacturer can provide certification documents that the device does NOT exhibit any electro-magnetic impulses, causes Hall effects, etc. they will NOT allow it. I do not know what each jurisdiction in US has but I consider this to be a big problem. I'll await what manufacturer of this will say here before taking a decision.
Tim Martin
How does the device learn what items are using the electricity?
Ben Lachman
Scott, we use a semi-permanent adhesive. This means the sensor installs easily in a few seconds but is really difficult to remove (e.g. requires a putty knife and directions). Additionally, the sensor is unmarked and has no value on its own which both decrease theft risk.
Scott Mendoza
Hi Ben, Are there any anti-theft functionalities attached to the outside device?
Baivab
I just backed your product and hope it succeeds in funding. Few observations - aren't there any stretch goals?
Many already use IoT devices coupled with home automation. Few prominent players being Wink, SmartThings, etc. I would like to know if you plan to introduce any couplings with these players, along with integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple Homekit. As a 1st. step which BTW is relatively easy is IFTT integration, which can be subsequently utilized with others. An example would be light/device control by (say) SmartThings when there's an energy jump reported by your devices. Home security - energy jump indicates ?? especially when no one's home. Community - you can look at community statistics. If 2 or more people use your product then within the neighborhood the data can be shared and visible without revealing exact addresses. I have additional concern - which I'll post under a separate thread.
Robin
Ankit: We'd love to begin shipping to home owners in every country but, as a start-up company, we must begin more locally since it's an installation environment we know and we can closely monitor performance. For that international future, it would be helpful to know for India what that installation environment looks like, such as who owns the meter panels. Is it the utilities or the home owner and is it the same for all states, union territories, and local governments?
Ankit Bhangar
Hi Ben, Great concept, I would love to see use it at my home but sadly you are launching in US and Canada only. Are you thinking of India as well? If yes then we can discuss further, I can provide you with any specification you need for India. Regards,
Ben Lachman
Andy: Definitely. We'll be announcing specific compatibility at a few points throughout the campaign.
Andy
Integrate with your car charger and other smart home systems. My car charger huh? Well for those of us interested in smart home integration, will there be a compatibility list?
Kristian
Great idea!
Ben Lachman
BiteMyApple: They should just ask nicely ;-)! The meter is owned by the utility, but the box, which we attach to is the property owners.
BiteMyApple.co
Not sure if my apt would allow me to install it over the meter. But very cool idea...