Microsoft has opened up a new service named Hohm (a combination of “H” for home and “ohm” the electrical unit of measurement, all pronounced “home”) designed to help you track what you spend on energy in your home.
Once you’ve signed up and have been accepted into the system, you’ll be asked to fill out a very detailed profile of you home including questions ranging from square footage, type of heating and cooling, whether you have a programmable thermostat to how many of what kind of light blubs you have installed. (In fact, it took me several sittings over a few days to get it mostly filled out and I’m still missing some information.)
In return, Hohm will give you recommendations on how you can reduce your energy expenses including estimated costs and benefits for each recommendation. (So far I’ve worked on changing out many of our old light bulbs and started insulating the water pipes in our basement.) The more questions in the profile you’re able to answer, the better your recommendations will be. As you add to or update your profile, the recommendations will automatically adjust.
Additionally, if your gas and electric supplier participate, you can authorize Home to automatically download your billing details into your Hohm account. In my case, neither of my suppliers participate in this new program, but I was able to do two things. First, I filled in the name of my providers with which Microsoft will send them requests for participation. Second, I was able to enter my payment data manually for the year so far. (I’ll also be entering the information as my new bills arrive.)
With all of this information Hohm will then provide you with a detailed report (mine is shown right) about your home and how much you’re spending on energy. If nothing else, this information has made me hyper-aware of how we’re using energy in our home. I’m hoping that this will show me a reduction in our energy costs in the long run.