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Winter 2014

Inquiry Magazine Archive


Empowering Energy Consumers

Researcher creating system to help homeowners track their power usage, potentially lower their energy bills  

Giacomo Ghidini

Giacomo Ghidini

Giacomo Ghidini is bringing the power back to the people—literally.

Dr. Ghidini, who recently received his Ph.D. from UT Arlington and now serves as an adjunct professor, is developing a sensor and monitoring system to put consumers in charge of tracking their energy, gas, and water use so they can save money.

“I think Ghidini’s idea could revolutionize how people handle their energy consumption,” says Sajal Das, a former professor at the University who helped mentor Ghidini on the project.

Traditionally, power providers have been in control of Web-based smart meter applications that can help homeowners and other consumers monitor and regulate their energy consumption. But with Ghidini’s sensor, the power would be with individual property owners.

Dr. Das believes the work could save homeowners or businesses 10 to 15 percent of energy expenses. He and Ghidini were among 100 recipient teams of a 2012 National Science Foundation Innovation Corps grant, which has the aim of moving research ideas to the marketplace.

“What makes the grant exciting is that we’re taking what we learn inside the lab to where it will be put to use,” Ghidini says.

The project also made the final cut in the UT System Horizon Fund Student Investment Competition. Ghidini says the experience provided important lessons on how to pitch the idea to venture capitalists.

More articles from this issue

UT Arlington - Office of Research