Loop Energy Saving Kit
Let us start of by saying that we are not a huge fan of energy monitors but, we recognise that the majority of them are not really aimed at people like us. The Loop energy saving kit is one of these devices but, we like the way that it doesn't get too hung up on the numbers and focuses on educating and informing users about their energy usage.
Registration & Installation
Registration is simply a matter of going to Your-Loop.com and entering the supplied authorisation code on the outside of the box.
After entering your name and address, you then choose a user name and password.
After this, it is then on to the on-line installation guide.
On entering receiver serial number (MAC address), it then connects to your broadband and an 'success' message is provided.
On enter the transmitter serial number, it was reset and the LED flashed once.
The next step involved an email being sent out to validate the email address entered. This takes a few minutes to come through.
The transmitter is connected on one of the wires coming out of the meter as instructed. In our case, this meant installing it in the meter cabinet. The supplied parts are nicely colour coded to make the installation as clear and as simple as possible.
Navetas currently have an Android app available and an iOS app is due soon.
The website provides the most comprehensive user interface and starts with a summary view, which is much like a Facebook newsfeed, with a timeline of notifications and events.
The explore page provides the capability to view graphs of usage over different periods with a scale that represents kWh used or money spent (based on the tarrif you selected). Slightly confusingly, this graph is actually just a plot of points for each aggregated hour and is not as granular as implied. This also explins the fact that the graph starts at 01:00am. A bar chart would be a more suitable method to display this data.
The data is also not as real-time as we would like. A value for the period from 15:00 to 16:00 was still not displayed at 16:30.
This area does give you useful insight though and we are averaging a spend on electricity of about £2.04 per day.
One of these activities is a 'low usage' activity and this really needs to be run at night, when all the main devices in the home are not in use.
It is also possible to set yourself an energy budget (we chose £10 per week initially) and to then track what percentage of your budget you have used through the time period chosen (a week in our case). You can choose the level of email notifications as you approach you budget and when you have met or exceeded it.
You can also set a goal in terms of reducing you energy:
The last activity is a comparison using the uSwitch web site. This needs at least a month of data before it is unlocked and can recommend a cheaper energy supplier.
This is now unlocked for us the comparison engine recommends cheaper suppliers based on your electricity usage. For this to really be of use to us, it needs to take into account our gas usage.
Questions & Issues
There are a few questions and issues that we have around the service and user interfaces:
On the web site, the summary page showed our profile as 93% complete but, it was not clear what we have to do to get to 100%. It turns out that this was because the email validation hadn't worked first time and having requested a new validation link and clicked it, we then reached 100%.
The Loop service and device is clever. Not only is it very simple and easy to install but, it also comes with a website and mobile app (Android only for now) that add real value and help you to understand your electricity usage. We like the use of emails to keep you informed of weekly and monthly usage. Other devices we have used have quickly been left on a shelf and rarely used but, the regular emails encourage and remind you to engage with the service.
The service needs to collect data over a period of time before you can start to spot trends and variations but after a few weeks, these features were unlocked for us.
One slight annoyance is the need for the app to login each time it is started.
21st April 2013
We like the way the app (and website) show useful items in your 'feed' and try help understand the reality of the numbers being presented. Today we got a summary of the week ending 21st April. Our highest daily usage was 18.73kWh. Over the week we used 84.8kWh and this equates to £11.30 spend on electricity. We used 44.69Kg CO2, which is the same as travelling 781 miles in a small car.
25th April 2013
Today we had an entry in our 'feed' showing we had our lowest day of electricity usage so far. We used 12.4kWh.
17th May 2013
Email notification received today. We have been on the service 1 month.
18th May 2013
Email notification received today. We have unlocked the tarisf price comparisons.
13th October 2013
One of the most impressive things about this equipment/service is the way it keeps you engaged and informed. It is manages to do this without being intrusive and annoying.