News Source: 
Seattle Times
A demonstration project at the University of Washington will help students cut the school's energy bill; it's part of a larger, five-state project to make the power grid "smarter."
October 23, 2012

With the help of a device that monitors energy consumption in her dorm room, University of Washington student Simone Schaffer was surprised to discover that her computer monitor is constantly devouring electricity — even when the screen is dark.

But the device that measures power use also allows Schaffer to take command of her energy-slurping monitor. She can shut a suite of electronics down completely with the touch of a button, using either a control panel in her room, or remotely through a cellphone app.

As a resident hall adviser in Elm Hall, she's among the first participants in an experiment to see if having more control and information about power use can motivate consumers to take steps to save energy.

For the UW, the stakes are high. As Seattle City Light's largest customer, the university pays the utility about $1 million a month for electricity.

The UW experiment is a small part of a $178 million, five-year federal demonstration project in five Western states to make the energy grid "smarter." The project is being funded with federal stimulus dollars and money from utilities and other participants.