A Silicon Valley engineer is on a quest to green the world by making buildings smarter

Seven years ago, Mark Chung took a three-week vacation. When he came home, his electricity bill looked more than a little off. “Normally my energy bill is about $100 to $130,” says Chung. “This one was like $560.” So he called his local utility and said there’s something wrong with my meter. “And they’re like, ‘Oh, no, we’ve had these smart meters rolled out for a few years now. Everything is fine.’” His response: “Well, can you tell where I spent the electricity?’” The utility’s response: “On your house.” Not the most helpful answer. But Chung was trained as an electrical engineer at Stanford University. So what does he do? He goes to Home Depot. “I bought these kilowatt meters that they had on the shelves, they’re like $10. We hacked them to be Wifi enabled, then I plugged them throughout my house. And I couldn’t find anything that was an anomaly,” says Chung. So, Chung took things to the next level and built an electrical map to monitor every appliance, every piece of machinery, every light in his house. And he found the problem: the pool pump had some broken rotor bars.  “Even though it was running at the same schedule that it was before, it was just consuming a lot more energy to do the same amount of work.” Problem solved. And business idea hatched.


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