Sense Is Helping Us Become Net Zero!

We installed solar panels just before the end of last year (2018) and installed a new Sense Monitor at the same time. We have 15 rooftop panels on our old DC rowhouse, a 4.875 kW array in total. Our goal is to see if we can be a net zero energy home by the end of 2019.

Our electric bill while it varies from month to month can be as much as $1,000 per year especially after AC use during the hot DC summers. As a sustainability guru and Architect, when I heard that Sense was a smart home energy monitor capable of detecting appliances and other home devices, I was all in and ready to get one installed.

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We use the app to track everything around the house and check in from time to time to determine our energy hogs (oven, AC, and our great looking but power hungry Edison light bulbs). Since we have seen first hand in the app how much energy these devices really consume, we have gotten smarter about using them and really try to cut back - including programming of smart switches for lights and adjusting our AC setpoints and schedule in the Nest app for our thermostat. We also determined we were able to cut our dishwasher power use in half by using the eco-mode (which we never did before). We've used the app to set a weekly energy use goal of 17 kWh and get notifications for how we are tracking towards that goal. We also use the apps usage history to track our overall usage in a spreadsheet along with solar generation and utility bill data to see how we are doing towards our net zero goal. So far, 8 months into the year and it seems we should meet our net zero goal! Still 4 months to track, but tracking our usage with Sense should help us get there.

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