Awareness: Step One to Saving Energy

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"Hey, what did you just turn on that uses 1500 watts?" Normally, we wouldn't expect something that looks like this to generate so much conversation. But recently, anthropologist and technology researcher Jay Hasbrouck blogged about a friend of his who, through a bit of serendipity, installed The Energy Detective [TED] in a very visible location... and wound up with a more energy aware family.

In essence, TED is a Kill-a-Watt for your entire house.

As the TED website points out, the average person pays around $1200 a year for the privilege of being able to plug things in. We like the idea of technology like this that starts a conversation, but we're reminded by this story that location within the home is key.

To that, we add this plea: we're looking forward to this kind of technology in a more highly designed wrapper: think sleek iPod, rather than 1980's era digital thermostat. Why can't it be an object you would want to show off when friends come to visit? A bit of envy could do a world of good in this case.

At $140, do you think a TED would lower your energy usage? Is it green enough that you are willing to look past the, um, retro design?