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Interview of the Week: Mike Phillips of Sense | Our Daily Planet

The Sense home energy monitor is a way for homeowners to better measure the energy use in their homes so they can cut unnecessary use and reduce their energy bills while they’re at it. Sense can detect the unique electronic signature of devices in your home and it allows you to know for certain what’s sucking up needless power. We had a chance to sit down with Sense CEO Mike Phillips to hear how his company is helping homes decrease their carbon footprint and save money.

ODP: To be a little cheesy, why does Sense make sense for homeowners looking to better manage their home energy?

MP: The electricity consumption for an average U.S. home results in over 17,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year. At Sense, we believe that most homes can cut that number in half simply by knowing more about their home’s energy patterns, and in states like Arizona and Texas, where the average home electricity usage and cost is high, homeowners have a tremendous opportunity to save. When residents have detailed data about their electricity usage, they can take steps to make their homes more efficient, sustainable and eco-friendly.

ODP: What is the installation process like?

MP: Once you have the Sense monitor installed inside your electric panel you simply connect it to your wifi and download the app. The monitor will run a self-test and then, over the course of a couple weeks, will begin identifying devices in your home. From there you can begin monitoring the energy use of the devices in your home in real time—which means you can see which appliances you’ve left on inadvertently.

ODP: The average American wastes 283 kilowatt hours each month which equates to an electric oven running at 350 degrees for 6 full days. That also means we’re wasting a ton of money on energy. How much money are your customers saving?

MP: As I mentioned before, we think most homeowners can cut the amount of energy they’re using in half but of course the savings will depend on how much your utility is charging you for electricity. In the Sense app you can plug data in like the cents/kilowatt hour that you’re being charged to get a good estimate of your yearly savings. We’ve had customers save hundreds to thousands of dollars a year on things they didn’t know were turning on, like floor heaters and attic fans. You can check out Sense Saves for stories from our customers about money they’ve saved and all the places they found where they were wasting energy.

ODP: In this day and age of data breaches, how safe is a Sense customer’s data?

MP: We have a privacy agreement that ensures that you own all your data and Sense can’t sell it.

ODP: We all know the adage “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” so how easy is it for Sense customers to actually cut down their energy use? We know that there are times when we begin ignoring our fitness trackers; what tools do homeowners have to stay on track?

MP: Sense makes it really easy to set goals once you get an idea of your home energy use. You can set goals for various points in time, including by day, week, month, billing cycle or for “any point” in time, and Sense will use your usage history as a baseline. Once you create your goals, your Sense app will send push notifications when you exceed your goal or if you’re on track to exceed it. Once you see that you’re trending to exceed your goal, you can make changes before it’s too late. It’s all very user-friendly.


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