As inhabitants of the digital age, we use our electronic devices and appliances in our homes to as much as our routines can manage. At the end of the month, though, our electricity bill often takes us by surprise. To help us monitor how much energy we consume and make smart decisions on our use of electronic devices based on that, Verde Energy offers us a handy little tool called the OWL Micro+ that lets us see our energy consumption in real time.
MADE TO FACILITATE SMART CHOICES
The primary purpose of the OWL Micro+ is to educate people on how various appliances and gadgets being used in the household affect the level of energy consumption and, consequently, the monthly electric bill.
It isn’t meant to replace or disprove the bill you receive every month, but rather, it lets you do your own monitoring so you can change your expenditure habits even before the bill arrives. The product helps raise awareness within us consumers regarding our energy consumption and enables us to make smart choices based on the information it provides.
The components operate on wireless technology so that you can do your monitoring from anywhere inside the house. The display unit is compact and lightweight, so that it leaves a small footprint in your home and you can easily transfer it from one room to another. Its small, square-shaped exterior sort of reminds you of a bedside alarm clock.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
Apart from the display unit, the package also includes the transmitter unit and the fixed single sensor that are installed into the circuit breaker, and a nifty installation guide and user manual to help you understand your OWL Micro+.
What’s great about the product is that both the display unit and the transmitter run on AA alkaline batteries, which you can easily purchase from any nearby convenience store, hardware store or supermarket. Five AA alkaline batteries are already included in the package—three for the display unit and two for the transmitter—so you can immediately get started. You won’t even have to worry about changing the batteries soon because according to the folks at Verde Energy, each set of batteries for both the display unit and the transmitter will last for approximately 14 months.
UNDERSTANDING HOW IT WORKS
Installation is simple: all you have to do is locate the junction box of your home or office and clamp the sensor around the insulated live cable—usually the red or brown wire sticking out from the right side-going from the meter into the consumer unit.
The sensor uses current transformer sensing technology that detects and monitors the magnetic field around the circuit breaker, measuring the current. The information is then sent from the transmitter to the display unit at a radio frequency of 433MHz. The display unit can receive the data even from up to 30 meters away.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE
After setting your electricity tariff (you can see that in your monthly electric bill), you get to see your current consumption in kW, kWh or in pesos. You can easily switch from one view to another by pressing the mode button.
The display unit refreshes every 12 seconds so you get to see how your energy consumption rate updates in real time when you switch on or switch off an appliance or electronic device.
If you’re getting too paranoid and you can’t stop glancing at the display unit to check your consumption rate, you can also change the mode of the display unit to show time or date. There’s also a handy function on the unit that displays your average consumption for the day, week or month. The display unit can tell it’s a new day whenever the clock hits 6:00 am.
If you’re interested in getting your own OWL Micro+ to help you make smart decisions to save on your electric bill, Verde Energy will be happy to answer any of your questions as to how and where you can get your hands on a package, as well as price and installation inquiries. Drop them a line on their dedicated customer hotline at 942-0888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words by Racine Anne Castro
First published in Gadgets Magazine, August 2013