If you could choose where to buy your energy from, would you choose only to buy it from renewable sources? Soon you might be able to make that choice, if WattTime has its way.
WattTime is a nonprofit energy technology company that is launching a beta program in Chicago, giving individual homeowners the ability to choose where they buy their electricity from.
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When you turn on a light right now, the electricity is generally drawn from the main power grid, but you might not be aware of the fact the sources feeding the main power grid change every five minutes or so — depending on the time of day, you could be getting your energy from a coal plant, or you could be getting it from a solar farm.
Soon, however, that could change. WattTime’s system uses cloud analytics to monitor where the energy feeding main grid comes from, as well as the environmental impact of that energy and its source.
The software is then able to integrate the “on-off” cycles of air conditioners and heaters with the fluctuations of energy availability. When it detects that the energy is coming from a renewable source, WattTime alerts devices like air conditioners that are connected to the system, turning them on, and promoting the use of renewable energy.
This technology actually isn’t new, but it is now being aimed at consumers. You can take advantage of it by using the HolHom smart thermostat with WattTime software, which will soon have a “Clean Energy Mode.” Switch to this mode, and WattTime’s new system will kick into gear.
WattTime is partnering with Energate to get the new thermostat system into homes in Chicago, and if it turns out to be a success, the company says it could be integrated into 3 million homes within the next year. You can apply to be a part of the pilot program at WattTime.org.