When your house can track every kilowatt of energy you use, it gets personal fast.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Kathy Sokolic and her husband, Mike Sears, outside their home in the Mueller community (Jennifer Hsu/WNYC)


There’s a neighborhood in Austin, Texas where the refrigerators tell stories. The roofs are paved in solar panels. There are more electric cars per capita here in the Muëller community than in any residential neighborhood in America. It’s a kind of paradise and it could drive you nuts.

It’s also the future happening right now.

Even when she’s out, Kathy Sokolic can tell when her husband gets home or leaves because the light switches leave a trail. In their house, every carbon footprint gets tracked as part of Pecan Street’s energy research network. It’s preparation for America’s energy future. Seven hundred otherwise-normal homes have been wired to track how people really use energy when they have things like solar panels, smart thermostats and electric cars, lots of electric cars.

The thing is, in the process of gathering all that information, the people who live here now are awash in data about themselves and that changes how they behave. Hear their story in this week’s New Tech City.

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Here’s the chart mentioned in the podcast where Sokolic spotted her refrigerator behaving oddly and took action!

Visit the original story here.