Efergy Elite – wireless electricity monitor

With everyone banging on about the green issue, constantly on TV, in the papers, on the internet and on the radio, we can’t help but take notice. So in the interest of TechCast Network’s commitment to bringing you reviews on products that can actually help make a difference, here’s one that I think will make a big impact on a short and long term scale as well as on your attitude towards consumption.

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The Efergy Elite is a wireless electricity monitor that provides you with very helpful information on how much energy you’re using in real-time. The Elite requires no costly installations, it’s completely self-install and takes just seconds to get up and running.

I’ve been test driving the Efergy Elite for the past couple of months and I’ve been able to take a detailed look at how much energy is being consumed in the house in its entirety as well as on an individual basis. You can also set your electricity tariff so that the Elite can provide you with calculated costs on an hourly, daily, weekly and monthly basis.

There’s just three parts to the Elite package. The display unit, the transmitter and the sensor. The display and transmitter requires 3 AA batteries each. I’ve been using a set of rechargeable batteries in both devices and they’ve lasted the whole 2 months without requiring a recharge.

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Instructions are included on how to get the sensor and display to setup and sync together wirelessly. The sensor simply clips on to the appropriate cable (detailed instructions are included to advise you on which cable to attach the sensor to) and the transmitter does the job of transmitting the data it reads from the sensor to the display over the air.

Using the display, you get an accurate read of how many Kilowatts you’re consuming and how much it costs. After a few days of usage, it’s able to calculate your daily average consumption. For example, my daily average for the past two months has been 4.39 kWh which equates to approximately £0.65 per day. The display unit is a monochrome LCD screen with a green backlight that only activates at certain times of the day if any of the buttons are pushed.

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In the interest of helping you save energy, Efergy has designed the display unit to activate the backlight at different times depending on the season you’re in. For example, between November and January, the backlight will activate during 16:00 and 07:00 but in the months of May to July, it will only activate from 20:00 until 05:00.

A history button on the top allows you to cycle through different pages of information. This includes total consumption recorded for today, current week and month. Pushing the mode/set button with these figures on the display will calculate the cost of the consumption based on your settings. Pushing the forward and backwards buttons allows you to cycle through the recorded consumption for the day, week and month. Extremely handy for comparing your usage over a like-for-like period of time such as your previous weeks compared to your current week.

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If you’re on a dual-tariff meter with your electricity supplier, you’ll be glad to know that the Efergy allows you to set the pricing based on your two rates.

For example, I no longer leave the main plug which powers the TechCast office on over night or when I know I’m going to be away for half a day or more. This helps cut my energy consumption from about 4/5p per hour right down to a paltry 1p per hour. A small saving, but one that will add up over the weeks, months and years. I have also changed when I use my external monitor for my laptop. For general computing tasks and work such as typing this review, I don’t need the full use of my external monitor. That alone saves me a couple of pence per hour.

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Overall, the Efergy Elite meets and in some cases exceeds my expectations. As a product, it’s well designed, simple to setup and provides an invaluable tool for monitoring your energy consumption. It has helped me to actively changed my attitude towards leaving devices on standby and has educated me on how much energy or more significantly, the amount of money that is wasted when all it takes is a simple flick of the switch.

2009-07-13 Onwah Tsang

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