15 Seconds to Being More Energy Efficient

Sense Releases New, Engaging ‘Watt Check’

15 seconds can change the way people think about and engage with their energy usage. That’s the amount of time it takes Watt Check, Sense’s new feature that tests the wattage of current light bulbs, to test and report back to consumers how energy efficient their bulbs are, and make recommendations for improvements. And soon, Watt Check could expand to even more devices.

The recent Smart Energy Consumers Collaborative’s Customer Satisfaction and the Smart Grid report reinforced that consumers want to know more and engage more with their energy usage, and when given the right tools, they make changes that allow them to save money and use less energy.

So, if energy consumers have 15 seconds to spare, Watt Check can help.

Consumer Engagement is at the Heart of Watt Check

Sense’s philosophy is to create an experience that is collaborative and fun for our users. We see users opening the Sense app on average 1-2 times per week. So much information about electricity use is technical and difficult to understand, even for people who really know how to read their bill.

Even if you are a pro-level bill reader, you might not know what you can do to lower your consumption and your costs. Sense bridges the gap between the information that users are already getting from their utility and provides information they can use day-to-day to make changes in their life and see the outcomes.

Watt Check was developed to help users understand within 15 seconds what they can do right now to make meaningful changes in their energy consumption. Users can jump right in and start learning. The Watt Check experience was designed to be fun and even a little magical. When you get that first result and the light bulb lights up in animation, it can feel a little, well, delightful.

Very simply, you see how many watts you are using and how much is it costing you.

Everyone Can Have a Lightbulb Moment

When you ask people what they think about the most in terms of energy usage, it’s overwhelmingly lights. People perceive that it’s important, and that is critical when we’re trying to figure out ways to engage people on their energy usage at home. This probably stems from most energy users having the universally shared experience of being told over and over again to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

While those of us in the energy industry know that lights are a relatively small contributor to home energy use, for many people it’s an important entry point to engaging with their energy use. Lights can also be really impactful, because it’s something that people really understand, and the results can be seen immediately. If you don’t have efficient bulbs in your home, replacing them can be a savings driver. It’s not the biggest thing in most houses, but it is something that almost everyone has in their home.

Lighting is also something that resonates with almost all consumers. There are many types of customers that simply get left behind with cookie-cutter energy efficiency programs. For example, not every energy consumer can replace their HVAC system with a heat-pump. Watt Check provides a level playing field.

When the Switch Flips

Watt Check has a feedback and rating module built into it, and overwhelmingly users are rating the experience as useful. In the first month, over 1,200 Sense users have said the results they were seeing from Watt Check were useful.

“I talked to one Watt Check user who was excited to try the new feature because he ad different bulbs in different fixtures in his house, a mix of CFL and LED, knowing CFL bulbs aren’t as efficient as LED,” said Becca Smith, Product Manager at Sense. “He was shocked to see just how less efficient CFL bulbs were in comparison, to the point that he went out that very day and purchased LED bulbs for all of his fixtures.”

Watt’s Next?

Watt Check is all about the lightbulbs now, but Sense plans to update and expand Watt Check, and use the same principles to help consumers understand other devices and appliances in the home, such as fans, space heaters, toasters, blow dryers, and more.

While these might seem like small devices, many of them, like a space heater, can use an eye-popping amount of energy. Some of you might even have one on right now as you read this at your desk. You might want to unplug that and grab an extra blanket instead.

Watt Check, while simple to use, is the product of many complicated pieces of information coming together in an easy-to-use interface. These simple concepts are sometimes the hardest to explain, but when approached with Sense’s commitment to superior customer experience and engagement, Watt Check provides consumers with exactly what they want and need: a tool to tell them today what they can do to save energy and money tomorrow, and beyond.

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