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Home Energy Clock

A display, like a clock on the kitchen wall, that shows real time use of electricity, gas and water in kw, therms and cft plus dollars.

Photo of Geoff Ainscow
3 4

Written by

Geoff Ainscow

How are you connected to Sunnyvale?

  • I live in Sunnyvale.

What type of applicant are you?

  • Community member

Stage of Development.

  • Early concept or idea (<few months of work)

What problem are you aiming to solve? (100 words)

Problem, is most people don't know their energy they use, and the feedback they get (a monthly bill) isn't direct and connected to the immediate behavior. Seeing energy clock ticking up $s motivates.

Tell us more about your climate strategy or solution (500 words)

City offers energy audit to home owners and lends an energy clock for the kitchen wall. The owner begins to respond to the energy clock by reducing their usage and the dollars spent. At the end of the month, they want to keep the clock (paying for it) and ask for ideas to save energy in their home.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (100 words)

"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." This principle applies to much of human behavior, when we get positive of negative feedback continuously we tend to change. The Earth is giving feedback to humans through global warming. The problem is the time scale of Earth changes doesn't match the life span of humans. We have to use our mind to project consequences on our grandchildren.

Explain how your idea would be implemented in Sunnyvale (700 words)

First, we need a company to design and produce an energy clock. All the technology is available from PGE and the water district. Sunnyvale, in the past, has done energy audits of every single family home. We should make it available again, but this time to all types of homes. Included in this audit would be the loan of an energy clock. Seeing the clock every day will hopefully motivate the user to investigate how to save energy.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (250 words)

Reducing use of energy reduces CO2 emissions.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of people affected. (250 words)

Sunnyvale could demonstrate that the clock motivates people to save energy. When other people see it, every home owner will want one.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (500 words)

I know I can monitor my electricity use continually from my breaker box. I have solar panels, an EV and electric bike. My PGE smartmeter is readable remotely and the tricky one is water. I would need to add a flow meter after the meter in the street. It's all feasible, we just need to bring the parts together. Then the read out in the form of a clock needs to be designed and built.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (300 words)

I'd need to find a team of people with all the skills to design the energy clock and build a prototype. Then, get the support of the city and use their influence to cooperate with the utilities.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with our partners?

  • Yes, share my contact information

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. From a range of 1-5, how interested/compelled are you to bring this idea into your own life or into the city?

1 - Not Interested - 0%

2 - 0%

3 - 0%

4 - 0%

5 - Very interested - 100%

2. From a range of 1-5, does this idea provide benefits aside from reducing carbon emissions?

1 - Low co-benefits - 0%

2 - 0%

3 - 0%

4 - 0%

5 - High co-benefits - 100%

3. From a scale of 1-5, what do you feel is the feasibility of this idea to work well in Sunnyvale?

1 - Not feasible - 0%

2 - 0%

3 - 0%

4 - 0%

5 - Very feasible - 100%

4. From a range of 1-5, what is your hunch about how much this idea will cost the Sunnyvale community to implement properly?

1 - High cost to the community - 0%

2 - 0%

3 - 50%

4 - 0%

5 - Low cost to the community - 50%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Barbara F

I really like this idea. I wish there were such a device— and that it would be affordable.

Yes, I think it would motivate conservation.

Photo of Geoff Ainscow

Hi Barbara,
Thanks for your comment. I'm looking for some item similar, just for electricity or gas, hoping I can modify it to include all three, electricity, gas and water. Water is the most difficult.

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