5 apps to help you save on energy costs this spring
With the warmer spring months just around the corner, you might be starting to think about throwing open the windows and turning off the heater. But although the bitterly cold days are on the way out, chances are they’ve left you with an equally bitter aftertaste, in the shape of a large energy bill.
As Shakespeare once said, “what’s done is done”; there’s no point in crying over spilt milk, or in this case high energy bills. While switching to a better energy plan is our number one tip for reducing your power bills, spring is a great time to start thinking about your energy consumption and cut down on your power usage.
One way to lower the cost of your energy bill is to download a handy app that will help track your usage, or review the energy efficiency of the appliance you’re thinking of buying.
Here are a few apps we found to help you start saving dollars on your energy bill:
Light Bulb Saver App
On top of being the greener, more environmentally-friendly alternative, energy efficient light bulbs are a great way to cut down the cost of your energy bill. The Light Bulb Saver App shows you how much money you could be saving by switching your incandescent or halogen bulb to an LED or CFL.
All you have to do is select what type of bulb you have at the moment and how many watts/lumens it uses. For example, if you have a 40 Watt traditional incandescent light bulb you could save approximately $86 over 10 years by switching to an LED bulb.
The estimates are based on an average use of 3 hours per day, per light, so the savings could be more in winter when daylight hours are scarce or less in summer when you have less need for artificial light. The app also gives you the ability to adjust the average purchase price for each bulb, so that you can gain a more accurate idea of how much you’d save compared to how much you’d spend.
It might seem like a small change, but switching all the bulbs in your home to more energy-efficient, cost-effective lighting could really save you in the long run.
Available: Google Play and iTunes
Energy Rating Calculator App
Purchasing a more energy efficient appliance that costs you less to run, could save you a lot of dollars over time. You might have seen the energy rating label when shopping for a new dishwasher, fridge or TV, but you might not have heard of the Energy Rating Calculator App.
Distributed by the Department of Environment and Energy, the Energy Rating Calculator App is free to download and helps you review how much energy an appliance uses and how much it would cost you to run each year, depending on the specific model, brand etc.
So if you’re searching for a new fridge TV or computer monitor, washing machine, dishwasher, air conditioner or dryer, this app has the potential to help you make a big saving on your energy bill.
Available: iTunes or Google Play
The Powerpal App and Powerpal Home Energy Monitor help you track your energy use in real time, so that you can review how much or how little appliances are costing you to run. The app receives information on your energy consumption from Powerpal’s Home Energy Monitor, which can be connected to your meter.
Once connected the Powerpal App can help save you money by:
- Revealing how much energy you’re using in real-time, how much you’ve used over the course of the day and approximately how much it will cost you. This way you can review what appliances are hiking up your energy bill and think about running them at cheaper times of the day.
- Showing you how much you’re spending in real time and allowing you to set a monthly spending target. Once you’ve set a monthly target, you’ll receive alerts to let you know if you’re on track and tips on how to make sure you achieve your goal.
- Learning how your home in particular uses energy and calculating how you could make bigger savings by installing solar panels, for example.
- Helping you make the most of your investment if you’ve already taken the plunge and switched to solar power.
- Sending you a weekly report revealing approximately how much you’ve spent, whether it’s more or less than the previous week and what percentage of your energy is used by appliances that are always on. This includes fridges, TVs and other electronics that are left on standby.
Check out the Powerpal website for more information on what meters are compatible with the monitor and advice on how to install it. While the app is free to download, the Powerpal Home Energy Monitor costs $129 with free shipping anywhere in Australia (at the time of writing).
Cost: App, free! Home Energy Monitor $129 (at the time of writing)
Available: App, the Apple App Store or Google Play. Home Energy Monitor, can be shipped anywhere in Australia (at the time of writing)
Sydney-based start-up Wattcost has been working hard since 2018 to deliver a wireless device that connects to your smartphone and helps you track your energy consumption.
The brains behind this new piece of technology hope to help you not only lower the cost of your energy bill, but also help you review your emissions and lower your carbon footprint.
Once connected to your smartphone via the Wattcost App, the Wattcost Beacon captures real time energy data from your fuse box, analyses the data for potential savings and safety measures and sends the information to your mobile.
Some handy features on the app include:
- Real-time energy use tracking, to help you review how much you’re spending on running different appliances at different times of the day.
- Alerts to let you know when an appliance has been left running or the fridge door has been left open!
- Tips on how you could reduce your energy consumption, including estimates of how much you could save.
- Machine learning algorithms that take into account factors including the weather and past user habits to advise you on the cheapest times to run costly appliances.
The Wattcost Beacon will set you back $199 (at the time of writing), but if the company’s claims are true then it could also save you up to 30% on your power bill!
Cost: App, free. Wattcost Beacon, $199 + postage
Available: The app can be downloaded on the Google Play store or the Apple App Store
Although it is more focused on encouraging you to make your everyday habits more sustainable, the JouleBug App also shows you how being greener can help you save money. JouleBug’s motto is quite simply: “Pay. Save. Share.”
Everyday habits are listed as actions and once you complete an action you can press the Buzzer in the app.
Plus it’s not just about your energy consumption, other categories in the app include water, waste, transportation, food & drink and shopping. You can even make it into a competition; the app awards you points for every completed action and allows you to connect and compete with friends to see who can earn the most.
So not only can the app be a great way to see what simple actions help you cut down the cost of your energy bill, it can also be a fun game to play with your friends and work colleagues.
Available: Google Play and the Apple App Store
Time to start saving!
Now that you have all these great apps to choose from, it might even be time to think about whether your current energy provider is giving you the best deal. Why not check out Mozo’s energy deals comparison tool to see if you’re getting the best deal based on your location.
Or check out our Energy Saving Tips guides to see what else you could be doing to cut the cost of your energy bill. Have fun saving!