General Electric announced the winners of its GE Ecomagination Challenge today, among which was greentech startup PlotWatt. GE awards $500,000 total to five companies with the most innovative ideas for managing, capturing and using energy in the home.
PlotWatt’s winning energy solution, which also secured a $1M seed funding round from Felicis Ventures, allows residential and small multi-location commercial users to monitor and receive feedback on their energy usage. The product tracks energy consumed in a dashboard accessible online.
If paid attention to, a product like this could call more attention to our bad energy habits and give us incentive to change them. The data PlotWatt provides includes appliance-level measurements. This means with PlotWatt you can not only see how much money you spent on energy in a month, but where it went. Founder and chief executive, Luke Fishback told VentureBeat that the appliance-level measurements are what separate PlotWatt from competitors, who only monitor broad energy usage.
Appliances are not individually tracked, however. Fishback explained that data received through a smart meter is analyzed by algorithms. These algorithms then watch for patterns, such as a refrigerator that turns off and on every 10 minutes, and defines the appliance accordingly.
PlotWatt uses this data to make money-saving recommendations. These can be small scale such as, “Turning down your thermostat by 1 degree will save you $40 over the next month,” or long term commitments like replacing your refrigerator.
The dashboard (see image above) also includes alerts such as, “Your Always On power has risen over the last few days. If unchanged, this will add$15 per month to your electricity bill.”
Commercial establishments are already seeing an average bill reduction of 10%. “It’s based on whether people take the recommendations,” said Fishback.
PlotWatt plans to use its seed funding and GE award money to expand its infrastructure and prepare to open to larger markets.