Need an app to calculate the cost of your power usage? PowerSaver from West Side System might just be the thing you need. PowerSaver will calculate the cost and savings associated with reducing the wattage of your lamps as well as how much you could save if people would only turn the lights off when they leave! There are four modes available:
- Save with lower watts
- Save by turning off
- Bulb lifetime savings
- Appliance energy cost
All three are essentially a different calculator with a predetermined formula.
In the first mode ‘Save with lower watts’ you can enter an estimate of the hours per day the fixture is on. Then you enter what the current wattage of the lamp is in one box which will give you the current cost per month. Below that you enter the lower wattage that you could replace it with which will show you your new cost per month. Below that is a figure giving you the monthly savings you’ll make by switching.
The next mode ‘Save by turning off’ is very similar, except this time the constant factor is the wattage. Now you can enter the number of hours the lamp is currently on and below that a figure for the reduced hours. This again gives you cost per month calculations based on current hours, lower hours and your total savings.
Bulb lifetime savings is slightly different in that here you can work out your savings over the entire lifetime of the bulb. Enter the existing fixtures wattage along with a newer lower wattage as well as the estimated lifetime of the bulb in hours. This will give you a new figure based on the savings you will make over the lifetime of the bulb.
Finally ‘Appliance energy cost’ allows you to enter an estimated yearly electrical use in kWh for an appliance and using your cost per kWh it will calculate how much it will cost you to run the appliance in the space of a year.
Don’t worry about the app keeping up with the rising energy costs either, the settings allows you to tell it how much a kWh costs you, so as long as you keep this up to date you should get fairly accurate results. You can also change the days per month because as the app points out, most offices are only open 20 days in a month, so a calculation based on 30 days would be off.
Of course you can only use this to get an estimate, it’s highly unlikely that you will use a lamp for a set number of hours a day, every day. So these figures should only be used as a guide, but they will be more relevant to you than the ones stamped on the box.
The problem with this app really stems from the fact the formulas it’s using are really not that hard, with the built-in calculator on the iPhone/iPod I wonder if it’s worth buying this for the limited use you’ll get from it. There’s also a slight bug, apparently if I replace a 25 watt lamp with a 100 watt lamp I’ll still save money according to PowerSaver… It clearly doesn’t deal with negative values properly, but anyway, as long as you use the program as intended you’ll be fine.
If you have a specific need to calculate power savings then this app is for you. For the rest of us though, you’ll save yourself money by not buying it and using a normal calculator.