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Curb home-energy intelligence system promises to help reduce your electric bill

Paul Lilly | June 23, 2015
This little box connects to your circuit-breaker panel and identifies energy hogs in your home.

On Curb's Indiegogo page, the base model goes for $249 and monitors your whole home and four additional appliances or zones. Curb tells me it's designed for apartments and smaller households that are less than 800 square feet. For bigger homes, there's a professional model that runs $349 and ups the ante to 16 additional appliances and zones, while a $649 Pro Duo SKU includes two Pro units for very large homes with two electric panels.

Sounds interesting, though it left me wondering things like how the algorithm works and how robust the compatibility is with existing smart platforms. I spoke with Curb CEO Erik Norwood about these and other topics, and here's what he said.

TechHive:  Is there anything else on the market that does what Curb does, in the same or similar manner?

Erik Norwood:  What we've built at Curb is pretty unique, in that the product gives homeowners both a holistic and granular view of what is going on in their home and tells them exactly how to save energy, all in real time. By comparison, other products in the home automation market focus on just a single outlet, light or thermostat. Unlike other smart home or energy devices currently on the market that just provide data via an associated app, Curb gives you actionable data.

Ultimately, it's not about the data but what can be done with it to solve real customer pain points and give consumers the convenience, control, and efficiency they want from a smart home. While Curb isn't the first home energy-monitoring system, we've combined the most advanced hardware (monitoring up to 18 circuits per device) with a software suite that provides real customer value. Specifically, Curb's software combines an alerting system with a robust recommendations engine, so that customers have tailored advice about how they can save and when they've accidentally left something on.

TH:  How difficult would it be for an average Joe/Jane to install Curb?

EN:  We designed Curb to have a simple and quick installation and incorporate sensors that easily snap right around each of the circuits in the electrical panel. That said, from a safety perspective we do recommend professional installation through either our Curb partner installers (continental U.S.) or by your local electrician.

TH:  What do you estimate a typical home could save by using Curb? Are we talking tens or hundreds of dollars annually?

EN:  The amount that a home typically saves can vary significantly, but we've had customers that have saved hundreds of dollars in just a few weeks because they discovered appliances wasting significant energy. On average, studies have shown that homeowners save anywhere between 10- to 20 percent of their electricity bill if they have greater understanding of where that energy is going. Curb takes that information a big step further by telling customers specifically how to save and when there is abnormal energy being used.

 

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