Author – Nandini Kumar
We are living in an information era that is marked by extensive and rapid technological penetration. We have become so ‘tech-savvy’ that checking our mobile phones in the morning takes precedence over checking ourselves in the mirror! Our mobile phone apps today have increased our functionality in a multitude of areas, including our workplace, education, social networking and personal entertainment. However, can a smart phone help us in improving the environment around us as well? Are there smartphone apps that can help us make our homes and offices energy efficient?
Interestingly, there are some smartphone apps for energy efficiency that aim to help you save power; here is a basic product review on 5 of them:
The Energy Watchdog app enables you to check the energy efficiency of your electrical appliances and identify the ones that are costing you more than they ideally should. The app functions on the basic principle of detecting changes in the magnetic fields generated by the flow of electricity. The app determines if the electricity is flowing or not through the in-built magnetometer/compass on your smartphone. To use this app, place your phone in close proximity to the motor of a fridge or at a point of maximum magnetic field dispersion like on the plug or cable. A narrow bar on the right side of the screen will show the value of the magnetic field instantaneously to assist you with optimum placement.
The app offers two modes of measurement – free-running and time-based measurement (useful for overnight testing of standby consumption). Once the device is optimally placed, the appliance’s power consumption, current flow and cost per kilowatt can be configured. The currency is detected automatically and the default rate is set at $0.12/KWH. Now, you can effectively use your smartphone as a non-intrusive smart meter. It can be used to find faults in appliances with partial defects, determining the cost difference between taking a shower versus a bath, getting information on costs associated with high power appliances like fridge, heater, geysers and comparing their power consumption.
Solar Energy App
This easy-to-use app is a reference point for anyone planning to use renewable energy. It is a simple practical guide for using solar power panels and saving energy. If the user has no previous knowledge of solar panels, the app provides detailed insight on how they work, and the steps to design and install a solar electric system from scratch! The app also comes packed with a link to a solar resource portal containing lots of important information, lists of suppliers of photovoltaic solar panels and access to solar energy calculators to simplify cost analysis and design processes. The Solar Energy app can be quite useful for both enthusiastic novices and solar professionals alike. Clear examples, diagrams and exemplar projects are highlighted within the app to demonstrate the true capabilities of these systems. The app claims to be the most comprehensive app on solar electric systems and green living available today.
Price: Rs. 80.39
Developer: Apperific Ltd.
The Eco-Bulbz application is a calculator that shows you the savings that can be made when you replace normal incandescent bulbs with energy saving bulbs like CFLs or LEDs. This app allows you to set the number of bulbs to be replaced and their sizes and accordingly gives you the cost savings to be made for four hours of use per day over a period of one year. Not only this, it also allows the user to input the names of rooms and the wattages of number of bulbs per room to get a customised reading. The app rightly claims, “Reduction of energy use will not only affect the savings you can make, but also be of benefit to the planet by the reduction of the amount of energy used”.
DU Battery Savers And Widgets
Developer: DU Apps Studio
A highly popular app on Google Playstore, the DU Battery Savers app is an efficient battery saving app that makes your battery last longer. It claims to extend the battery life up to 50% with smart pre-set battery power management modes and easy one-touch controls that solve battery problems. It is a simple way to keep your device working when you need it and protect against poor charging, battery hogging apps and overlooked device settings that can shorten your battery life. The app is highly customisable to suit individual user needs by providing a multitude of various options and settings. By using this app, you save the battery of your device and consequently the energy used in charging it.
Developer: pH Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
This Indian smartphone app runs by the mantra, “energy saved is energy earned”. With a goal to save at least 100,000 units of electricity in a year, this app prevents users from excessively charging their phones and tablets. We often leave our phones to charge and forget to unplug them as soon as the battery is full. After a phone is fully charged, a phone charger still consumes around 0.03 to 1 Watts of ghost power, which is a complete waste of energy. So this Energy Saver app begins to buzz continuously until the charger is disconnected. This simple practice of turning off the power right after full charging can prevent a whopping 27 to 927 million units of power per year in India alone! Furthermore, it provides a comprehensive estimation of the excess usage of battery on your device.
We hope these apps for energy efficiency are easy to use and are highly customizable according to the user’s preferences. Please do use them and give us your comments!