Skip to main content

You are here

Apps to save energy (and money)

Energy saving trust advice tool

Energy Saving Trust has developed a new app to help smart meter installers give timely and tailored energy efficiency advice – right when consumers need it most.

The energy saving advice tool is being trialled this month by energy companies before a full roll-out. It draws on our data, information and insight, and looks at each home individually as it gets its meter installed, giving a bright and colourful overview of four key rooms. From there, you can focus in on specific features and appliances, and find out where potential savings can be made.

For now, the app has been built to be used by energy suppliers and smart meter installers – but it’s the first step towards developing lots of new ways to help people be more energy efficient using digital technology.

Of course, there are other energy apps on the market that are worth exploring, from free downloads and simple designs to more complex systems controlling smart devices. We have checked out a few to give you low-down on what to expect.

Smappee

In short: Excellent features, but comes with significant kit costs.

Although the app itself is free, it does require the Smappee Energy monitor to work, which costs £229 – a considerable outlay. That said, the app itself provides a wealth of information, from standby energy consumption of your devices to projecting costs for a range of utilities. Presentation is really accessible and visual, and you can also ‘sub-meter’ individual appliances to find out exactly what they’re consuming. As with most energy apps these days, you can also control energy use remotely via smart devices and plugs. What’s more, it’s had plenty of positive feedback from users and the seal of approval from WWF.

Works with: Android and iOS

Rating: 4/5

Joulebug

In short: Sustainability made all fun and games.

This app has the noble aim of tracking sustainable actions made day-to-day, while providing virtual ‘rewards’ and calculating savings made. Its promotional video suggests it might ‘save the world’, but we’re not too sure. Though it does add an element of fun to going green, has easy functionality and looks slick, it’s hard to see it holding the kind of lasting interest required for meaningful behaviour change.

Works with: Android and iOS

Rating: 2/5

Energy Cost Calculator

In short: Free, no frills number crunching.

Enter the energy consumption of an appliance or device, how long you’ve used it and its cost per Watt and this calculator will give you cost/usage by day, month or year, as well as CO2 emissions information. It keeps things simple, and while it’s not going to transform your life or automate anything, it could help make some informed decisions on purchases and how to use your home’s equipment in a more efficient way.

Works with: Android and iOS

Rating: 2/5

British Gas Smart App

In short: Arguably the best of the energy supplier apps.

There’s a lot of energy company apps out there, but this one is a standout. It goes beyond billing information to link with smart meters, analyse usage and give tailored insights. It’s straightforward and visually engaging, and it also ticks off the energy supplier fundamentals of viewing statements and paying bills.  Of course, an app alone isn’t reason enough to choose a supplier, rather an added bonus – so always make sure you’re on the deal that’s right for you.

Works with: Android and iOS

Rating: 4/5

Mi Home

In short: Another app that needs smart devices first, but has neat features.

A good option for those finding a smart meter useful, and want to take further steps towards a smart home. You do need kit installed to make use of the app, so there are costs attached, but it’s possible to start simple with a few smart plugs or switches and go from there. An attractive feature of the interaction between the app and smart devices is its geofencing capacity, which means anything you’ve forgot to turn off will do so automatically when your phone goes outside a certain range. The visuals are straightforward and unfussy, too.

Works with: Android and iOS

Rating: 3/5

More on this...

 

Gary Hartley's picture
Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.