This week I continued work on my primary measurement project to make better sense of how I use electricity at home.
I began by making an inventory of every item in my NYC apartment that is plugged in to a wall outlet, of which there are 76, and measuring each of their electrical usage characteristics. While measuring I realized that many devices have variable power draw, for instance the Philips Hue LED light bulbs, which are rated for 8.5 watts, I measured drawing 4.5 watts at full brightness with a warm color temperature. Changing the color to a cool temperature increased the draw to 6.7 watts, red 2.4 watts, green 5.8 watts, and blue 2.4 watts. Another variable I hadn’t predicted was a limitation of my measuring device, the Smart Outlet with Energy Monitoring from TOPGREENER, which doesn’t appear to be able to measure very low power devices such as a Qi wireless charger in standby mode.
As part of my research I needed to find a reference for how much electricity I use in a given month. While looking at the data available through my electric utility, ConEd, I was surprised to find access to real time electricity use in 15 minute increments. This data can be downloaded for the last 24 hours as a CSV file!
It appears that ConEd also makes this near real time electricity use data available through an API to third-parties however the API requires a key and is not directly available for customers access their own data, so I will be sticking to daily downloading of the CSV for now.
I continued to brainstorm on a project involving motion. From my research on time keeping I have become especially interested in the escapement mechanism which is used in a mechanical clock to convert the oscillating movement of a pendulum to regular rotational movement of a gear.
One example of an escapement mechanism (above) by artist Norman Tuck I found especially beautiful in that it orients the pallet and the escape wheel perpendicular to one another, instead of parallel as they would need to be in a traditional clock.