As we go forward and advance as a society, the health of our global system should be at the forefront of everyone's mind. To do so, we have to start by being more efficient in our energy usage and promote a more sustainable lifestyle. To achieve sustainability, we chose to target the following: challenge each individual and business owner to cut down their usage, shift electricity usage from high peak hours to off peak hours, and to use more energy efficient products.
As such, we created an application, which revolves around your personal energy needs, Wattsly – your personal energy butler. Wattsly records the activities you performed during your day and during your peak hours, and then analyzes that information to provide you smart statistics and products. Wattsly can crunch the numbers and provide you easy to understand information and visuals.
Wattsly's main goal is to continuously challenge homeowners and small businesses to think more about their time of use and to think about the products they use when they are consuming electricity.
What we did to achieve our goals is listed below through our features:
Connect My Data API: Our application can connect to the local utility (in this case the test bed) and acquire energy usage information from the utility automatically and sync the data each day. This allows the user to see their information as close to real time as possible and truly understand the effects of their usage habits.
Our team has developed a SmartGraph that takes your data and graphs it on an hourly basis. The graph has the ability to switch to units such as Bathtubs of Water, Range of an Electric Car, Cost of energy, and other units that allow you to truly visualize your electricity usage. For example, the user can determine that on Tuesday - 35 Bathtubs of water would be required to generate their electricity through the use of Hydro-electric Power. Wattsly provides this information in an easy to visualize format that anyone can understand.
Tagging - our SmartGraph allows users to click on each point of usage on the graph and as they do another screen will prompt them for input. In this screen the user has the ability to tag the activities they were doing during this hour that may have caused the peak energy usage. Some high energy-consuming tags have already been provided as default tags and customized tags can also be entered. As they enter tags across this gives the user the ability to relate the amount of usage or the cost to the specific high peak activities they were conducting during that time. For example, yesterday at 5 PM we left all our televisions on and that’s why we had a peak in our graph.
My Statistics – the statistics page starts off by showing you a piece of smart advice based on your tagged information. This information is a quick and simple method to lower your usage. Wattsly then shows you your average usage for the last 30 days, your usage yesterday and your average usage in the last week, which provides you a great method to track your usage and determine whether you are trending upwards or downwards. Your progress can be shared via social media to keep yourself motivated, tell others about your progress, and create a challenge between your friends. The statistics page will allow the users to really connect with their data and challenge themselves to reduce their use. Just like any other test or challenge the score is key to mentally drive you towards a better result.
Renewable Energy - As an initial feature we have decided to calculate the number of solar modules required to offset your daily energy usage based on the production in Southern Ontario. This allows consumers to realize the amount of renewable energy they will require to offset their usage, will help them think about lowering their usage and promote the installation of solar panels as per the Feed In Tariff in Ontario.
Product Recommendations – Wattsly takes the tags you inputted for your usage and returns back smart products in the product recommendations screen. The products listed on the savings page are determined through a list of products that were defined to save energy. They were reviewed through several blogs, Energy Star Reviews, as well as product expert opinions. Wattsly also finds you incentives such as the coupons currently provided by the Ministry of Energy to save on energy friendly products. On this page we have provided a link to find the product as well as a “What is this button” that provides helpful information about the topic if the user is not interested in purchasing the product.
A use case of our application:
Our customer launches the application and completes registration. Once on the activity page the user sees the SmartGraph and scrolls through the different units. Using the legend at the bottom the user is quickly able to determine that even though 35% of their usage is High Peak it accounts for 60% of their costs on that day. The user touches a peak point on the graph and inputs a tag. For example at 5 PM the user was doing Laundry. The user then inputs showering at 7 a.m. and so on. As the user inputs the tag, it’s intuitive that the user will think about how they could have shifted their usage to another hour that was off peak. For example, if the user was Vacuuming their restaurant at 11 AM during high peak hours the user can think about Vacuuming earlier in the morning during off peak hours or during mid peak hours.
Next, the user can scroll to the Stats page where they are greeted with a useful piece of smart advice generated by Wattsly based on the tagged input. Once the user is done reading that they can look at their stats that may show an average daily usage of 87 kWh/Day. The user may look and see that yesterday their usage was 95 kWh/Day and notice that they are trending up. Next the user can then challenge them self to reduce their usage to trend lower. This screen can then be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
Finally, the user the click on the savings screen and Wattsly will populate a list of products that reduce energy based on the tags the user entered. The user can for example, click on the Visit site button to take you to the store where the product can be purchased and the what is this button to provide more information about the product as well as how you can reduce energy even without purchasing the products. The what is this button has links to several blogs and energy star pages that have very helpful information.
As the long term energy plan in Ontario and several other provinces is aimed towards long-term sustainability and demand side management, our team truly believes in the potential of this application. The applications can be used throughout the province with utilities that are willing to implement the connect My Data Api. This will open up access to new data sets all over Ontario and Wattsly can be customized to match each utilities requirement and hence can be deployed on all major mobile systems. Once on these systems it will be a great way to promote green sustainability.
Some future implementations around the corner:
1) We want to show to consumers all the tags based on the high peak, mid peak and low peak usage.
2) We would like to integrate renewable energy into the mix and determine the total number of solar panels required to offset their usage based on their current location.
3) We would like to show the history of the statistics to make it easier to track for the users.
4) Connect the users together so they can share usage information and tags to help sponsor the best user, we will create a game element to the system, to show leader rankings and efforts by zones/areas to engage consumers to support green initiatives locally to use energy more effectively.