I’ve been able to move along a great deal in my thinking thanks to the Homecamp unconference on Saturday. The guys have done some inspirational stuff with monitoring so it’s clear what I need to do next. Thanks to Chris Dalby and helpers for putting this together.
My electricity cost meter has not arrived yet but when it does I’ll have that source of input. I also discovered a secret socket in my gas meter where I can derive a pulse output (that will need some debouncing). The most convenient way to make all this data into useful information is to build up a database of the readings from which I can get reports as needed. I’ll do that with a low power microcontroller that will act as a server on my home network. I’ll extract the readings into an existing central server. From those I can use a variety of tools for reporting.
The quickest way to get a low power microcontroller seems to be an Arduino setup. Time was that I would have built something like this from scratch. Thankfully, it seems that they’ve done most of the hard work and neither the price tag nor the power consumption will be a problem. Reputedly the whole thing will run off batteries.
While at Homecamp I also heard about Rob Veck’s great initiative at Colden Common to use a community approach to influencing behaviour. This is the kind of thing I had in mind so I will follow their progress closely. Maybe we can clone this in other communities?