If you're like me, you want to use less electricity - it helps the environment, and saves you money - but it's not clear what the best way is. Should you be focussing on your thermostat or on unplugging your devices? I think the first step to taking control of your energy habits is to understand your electricity usage.

My submission, the Energy Explorer, lets electricity consumers explore their smart meter data and discover their own insights into how they use electricity.

Electricity data is shown in 4 histograms, letting you see patterns across the year, a week and a day. You can select certain periods and all the graphs update for just that period -- for example, it can show you all the Sunday evenings where you used more than 2 kWh in an hour.

Many other tools let you graph your electricity usage, but are usually unclear and slow to manipulate. Those were the two issues I wanted to tackle: make patterns super-easy to notice, and make the feedback super-fast.

When I put in data from my family's home, I immediately saw that we should tweak our thermostat in the summer and at night (because the few times we took vacations, energy use was drastically lower, largely due to the thermostat; and, because there's a surprising amount of energy being used overnight).

I also threw in energy generation data from the IESO so environment conscious consumers can understand when their usage contributes to CO2 emissions and when it doesn't. Lastly, at the bottom of each page, there are some 'quiz questions' to help users ask the right questions about their data.

Text does not do it justice. Watch the video and see me analyze a real household's electricity usage.

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