Lifestyle

Google Going Green in the Name of Energy Efficiency

Google Inc and Energy Inc, a privately held company, have been offering since February of this year a new device to monitor home energy. Dubbed the Power Meter, consumers have been able to monitor how much electricity is used in their home, but the meter had to be installed by their utility provider.

A few hundred consumers had tested the software over the course of the last few months. Now consumers can buy Energy Inc’s energy-measuring device, which is known as TED 5000 (The Energy Detective), for about $200, and use Google’s free software, (the Power Meter) as a monitoring tool.

This movement has come in response to several studies that have indicated a correlation between saving money and being able to actually see electrical usage in terms of real time. The process makes it easier to reduce usage. Such feedback obviously requires a meter and the problem has been that many of the meters available on the market today don’t display information.

Consumers have been in the dark where there should have only been light and now, thanks to the Power Meter, they can have access to data on their personal electricity use, control who gets to see this data and choose from a range of services to help them understand and benefit from this information.

The partnership between Energy Inc and Google’s green side is non-exclusive and intended to increase sales. This sweep into “clean technology” is marked by several projects which include ways to reduce by 25% or more the cost of building thermal plants by writing software (RechargeIT) which is aimed at accelerating the adoption of plug-in vehicles and “smart charging” applications.

Plug-in hybrids are an important option, as they significantly reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for roughly one third of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and at least 20% globally.

The new vision includes a more efficiently run electricity grid that utilizes renewable energy (RE<C ) and “smart” appliances to avoid the devastation of global warming. It is hoped that one day, millions of cars will be plugging into a greener grid. Noble and sincere as the plan is, without finding a way to make it cheaper than electricity produced from coal, it won’t make that much of a difference.

Since 2007, Google and concerned partners have been dedicated to developing electricity from renewable energy sources with the ultimate goal of producing enough renewable energy capacity to power a small city. To achieve this, Google.org is strengthening its coffers via timely investments and grants and advancing important public policies with the help of federal and state governments. Google’s innovative products and resources are also being harnessed to unlock information that raises awareness about the benefits of renewable energy.

The Google energy team hopes to greatly reduce the use of fossil fuel by 2030. Over the next few decades, this plan could well generate billions of dollars in savings and help create millions of green jobs. The “Clean Energy 2030” goal provides a potential path to weaning the U.S. off of coal and oil for electricity generation with some reliance on nuclear power and natural gasses.

One can only speculate how this new approach will affect the balance of power with the oil-producing countries of the world. Renewable energy is clean and abundant, but in order to be effective, it must be cheaper than coal-fired power, which today is the dominant source of global electricity and a large contributor to environmental pollution. Powerful change is in the air with the likes of Google’s new green focus on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, and enhanced geothermal systems.

Time alone will reveal the benefits of Google’s new initiative which hopefully, will inspire others who are concerned with the environment and the terrible cost to the environment that greenhouse gas emissions cause every day of our distressingly polluted lives.

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