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Wattson, on the energy we spend

Now there’s no excuse to leave your coffeemaker on warm or the lights on when you leave the room. The British firm DIY Kyoto sells a 350£ gadget that can tell you just how much energy is spent by every electronic and electric appliance in your home, many of them in the apparently inoffensive standby mode.

With the power to alert you of just where your electric bill is going every month, will Wattson soon rival the iPod in popularity?

It’s basically an energy reader with all of the iPod’s sleek style. You simply hook up the meter portion near your home’s energy supply and the chic, lounge-inspired receptor records your wattage output on a very modern ambient readout light.

Capable of calculating energy usage for the year or at any given moment, Wattson “offers the information and knowledge that you need to take action to reduce your energy consumption and costs,” assures the appropriately named British firm DIY Kyoto (Do it Yourself Kyoto), responsible for the development of the product.

“You may find your microwave costs you 50£ ($94) a year just to tell the time and wait for you to ask it to do something.” While it’s not clear what those at DIY Kyoto would suggest you do with this knowledge (switch off your microwave when it’s not in use or switch to one with a low-consuming standby option), there are some changes that will be obvious.

“A 100W light bulb left on for a year will cost roughly 70£ ($131), but if you replaced it with an 18 watts low-energy light bulb, that would drop to about 12.60£ ($24), saving you over 60£ ($107).”

To join a network of Wattson-heads, the device can be connected to your computer where you can record your usage patterns, as well as, contribute data to an online community to compare energy savings with other users and against national standards.

If the best way of changing out energy habits is knowledge of how much we spend and where, this could be the beginning of a personal reduction revolution, assuming enough of us have the 350£ to purchase one more appliance.