A new KickStarter project, HeatMeter, uses a small device to track and monitor how much heating fuel (whether natural gas, propane, or oil) you’re using, helping to take some of the sting out of some of winter's bills.
Radu Gogoana, who is managing the project, has a bachelor’s and master’s from MIT, and is based in Nashua, NH, giving him a good home base for testing the technology given the dual threats of deep snows and pricey fuel options.
Gogoana said that the Wi-Fi connected device and accompanying software act similarly to a “miles per gallon” gauge on a car, giving homeowners a sense for how efficient their heating infrastructure is working.
After users input their zipcode, home square footage, and a few other details, the software gives users an efficiency score and lets them compare their homes with their neighbors’ efficiency.
“On one extreme, you could keep your house 80 degrees inside, and you’d see your home’s efficiency rating against the average drop,” Gogoana said.
With the winter’s home average heating costs around $2,500, according to Gogoana, having comparative data, and knowing if your home is burning too much fuel when you’re not around, can provide large savings.
That is, if users actually put the data to work.
“Just having it on your furnace won’t save you anything unless you do something,” he said, just as having a scale won’t help you lose weight. But given success with similar programs, he’s hopeful HeatMeter can make an impact.
“For electricity monitoring, there have been studies that have shown savings between 5 and 20 percent,” he told me.
Those savings could provide a warm smile on even the coldest of New England nights.