How to monitor electricity use with a SmartPlug?

Monitoring energy usage of individual work areas used to involve expensive and complex sub-metering systems. Now, some SmartPlugs can offer similar facilities for a fraction of the cost.

Are you ready to use SmartPlugs to monitor your energy consumption?

If you are looking at energy and carbon management within your organisation or as a consultant, there comes a time when you need to drill down beyond the overall energy use cleaned from the electricity bills.

Here some SmartPlugs with energy monitoring capability can help to more closely, monitor electricity use down to the workstation or device level.

This episode will look at five aspects of purchasing and using a SmartPlug:

  1. Choosing a SmartPlug with energy monitoring functions
  2. Unpacking a SmartPlug
  3. Setting-up the SmartPlug using the SmartLife App
  4. Looking at SmartPlug energy monitoring in my Office
  5. Two Bonus benefits of a SmartPlug

1. Choosing a SmartPlug with energy monitoring functions
Firstly, lets take a brief look at the available SmartPlugs on Amazon and how to choose a SmartPlug with energy monitoring.

An initial search shows that many different makes and models are available.

When we look at little closer, we can see that this model, for example, is without “energy monitoring” function in its description.

Looking at another model, we can clearly see that it states that it has “energy monitoring” in its description. Additionally, clicking on the images of the device brings up further confirmation of the “energy monitoring” function using an app.

The model that I purchased was a Teckin Smart Socket SP23, but you should check to make sure that this model continues to offer energy monitoring or any other model that you may choose to purchase.

2. Unpacking a SmartPlug
Here is the packaging for my purchased SmartPlug in a simple box with two plugs closely packaged together. Inside the packaging come a simple manual. The two SmartPlugs can be easily removed for further use. The SmartPlug comes in a UK three-pin fitting with a QR code of setting up the plug as well as a clickable button on its side for pairing the SmartPlug to your WiFi network.

3. Setting-up the SmartPlug using the SmartLife App
To set-up the SmartPlug, you will need to download the app, which in this case is the popular, SmartLife app that is available on Apple iOS and Android phones and tablets.

Selecting the blue plus mark in the top righthand corner allows the selection of our Wi-Fi Socket Smartplug which starts the set-up routine for selecting our Wi-Fi Network and on-screen instructions for setting up the SmartPlug.

Once the Smartplug is setup, it can be used to monitor any device that its plugged into its socket.

4. Looking at SmartPlug energy monitoring in my Office
In our office network, we have two desks with PCs, monitors and other peripheral devices plugged into the SmartPlug, a Laser Printer and a Document Shredder.

Clicking on My Desk, for example, shows my electricity consumption over the past seven months ranging from 18.58 kW in October 2020 to the most recent full month, March 2021, where my devices consumed 43.35 kW over the month.

Additionally, clicking on each month calls up the daily electricity consumption. In April 2021, you can see each day’s consumption from 1 April at 1.44 kW to 0.41 kW on 11 April & showing the variation of my daily electricity use from a low of 0.3 kW to a high of 1.44 kW.

Looking at my Laser Printer, we can see the high electricity consumption of this device, which averages about 2 kW per day compared with the Document Shredder at about half a kW per day.

Based on the review of my energy usage, I should consider whether I can reduce the use of my desktop computer below the high value of 1.44 kW per day & especially remember to turn off my Laser Printer when not in use as it consumes a high 2 kW each month, just by sitting there waiting for my print jobs.

5. Two Bonus benefits of a SmartPlug
Two additional Bonus benefits of using a SmartPlug relate to the remote control that is possible to turn “on” or turn “off” devices attached to the SmartPlug.

The first bonus benefit is using a Smart Speaker, such as an Amazon Alexa Echo or Google device to turn off or turn on an attached device.

In this example, I have used my Amazon Echo to turn my laser printer off and on using voice commands.

The second bonus benefit of a SmartPlug is using the remote-control function from your phone. Here, even if you are away from the house, you can press an on-screen button to turn off devices that you may have left on when you rushed out of the house for that all important client meeting.

So, to summarise:

I hope that this article has given you an insight into the benefits of using a SmartPlug to monitor energy consumption within your organisation or for your clients as well as the additional benefit of remote control of any attached devices using your phone or Smart Speaker, such as an Amazon Echo or Google device.

If you enjoyed this article, you should check out our YouTube Channel – EMSmastery, where you can watch our videos, such as our video accompanying this article on How to monitor electricity use with a SmartPlug? and subscribe in our YouTube channel for new videos released each week.

#SmartPlug, #EnergyMonitoring, #EMSmastery

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