Green for less: Fun, easy devices to to monitor your energy

Why is it important to read your home energy levels? When you know how much you're using, you're much more likely to conserve. A variety of gadgets out in the market now make it incredibly simple to read your energy use.

Knowing exactly where your energy dollars are spent will help remind you to turn off and unplug your computer at night (don't just put it to sleep), turn off the lights when you're not in a room, and keep that refrigerator door shut close. That's money in the bank. Invest once in a monitoring device and watch as the savings roll in. Here are a few of our favorite devices.

TED's Energy Detective is an easy solution for measuring everything in your house, to find out what is eating away at your energy bill. You can order a simple package for $145, and for $190 you'll have included their Footprints software if you want to log in real-time your energy use on to your computer.

Homemanageables takes that one step further by allowing you to control externally your energy output. Its simple kit runs on wireless technology. You install it onto your home computer, and the system wirelessly receives information from modules placed throughout your home. Did you forget to turn off your kitchen lights before leaving the house? No problem, pressing a button on your iPhone will do this remotely for you. Check out the status of various appliances on your computer or phone, or by calling a 1-800 number, and take action, anywhere you are. A starter kit is $199.

For a bare bones device, the Kill A Watt is handy for measuring an item at a time. It's great if you have the time to measure your own data, and can multiply to average your energy use. Build your own spreadsheet to track each appliance. Only $24.40.

And for the super techies out there that don't have any dirty laundry to air, you can turn your Kill A Watt into a Tweet-A-Watt, with a DIY kit that uses wireless reporting to tweet how much energy you're using to all of your twitter friends. The concept won first prize at the Greener Gadgets design contest. Set up a twitter battle to compete with friends to see who can use less energy overall. Available for $90.

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