I became a beta user of CURB DUO last month, and anticipated that it would make a difference in my energy bills due to behavior change around the house. But I had no idea just how much of an impact it would have in such a short period of time.
Since I live in Austin, Texas, where summer temperatures regularly hover in the 100’s, my home has multiple AC systems. On the very first afternoon of having CURB installed, I saw that one of our AC units was using as much electricity as the rest of the house combined! That was a huge red flag, and one I’d likely not have noticed until it was too late. Murphy’s Law has AC units break down on the hottest day of the year … on a weekend, when AC repair crews charge a premium for on-demand service. Getting advanced warning of the problem from CURB allowed me to diagnose the situation and research options with spaciousness and clarity.
Of course, Texas heat means lots of sunshine, so we’ve got three solar arrays covering our roof to capture as much of it as we can. Again, within 24 hours of having CURB installed, it became obvious that our West array was producing half the electricity as it should have been during the peak of the day. I never would have known, unless I had happened to walk by the inverters on the back side of my house (which I rarely do) at just the right time of day (which almost never happens) with the knowledge of what the reading should have been (which I don’t). Who wants to go outside to check their inverters in the heat of the Texas sun on a regular basis? And who keeps electrical reference data in their heads? I have no idea how long that string had been down — could be 6 months. Who knows? Now, I get to see the performance of my solar investment from wherever. At a glance, I can see how much electricity we produce vs consume and how much I’m selling back to the grid. And CURB’s real time analytics generate alerts on my phone and watch in real time, telling me when circumstances are not following “normal” trends.
Now, we all know that knowledge brings power. In this case, CURB has been the source of new knowledge, telling me exactly what’s going on in my home. And the behavioral transformation has been pretty darn cool. I have a teenage daughter that would think nothing of leaving her fan, some lights, and maybe even a radio on when she rushes off to school each day. I showed her just how much money each of those devices was costing and informed her that she was welcome to keep using that power when she wasn’t home, but of course we’d have to take the cost out of her allowance. Dad! Dude? Really? C’mon. LOL. But that simple bit of information changed her behavior immediately and now I don’t have to say anything on the way out the door … Well, almost. But the conversation has shifted, and it’s been a while since any of us have left stuff on unattended. I share CURB’s weekly email updates with the family — visualizing exactly how much power is used by each room and we’re all getting smarter about how we relate to the energy flowing through our lives.
I realize that not everyone will get this kind of sudden, multi-faceted benefit, but having CURB in the home is powerful. It gives us choice and control in relation to energy consumption that we never had.