I have the Philips Hue system of light bulbs and hub. I had that system before I got Sense, so the fact that it integrates data into Sense was a bonus. A very small bonus, since my usage of all Hue bulbs comes to less than 1kWh per month. That is simply because the Hue bulbs I have are located where they don’t get much use, for example the front porch. I came up with a plan to get more mileage out of this integration and hopefully reduce my Other by identifying illumination demand using Hue bulbs.
To implement my plan, I ordered a couple additional Hue bulbs. I got plain white bulbs, which are 60 watt equivalent (800 lumen) LED bulbs which use 9 watts at full power. I plan to install these bulbs as replacements to 9 watt LED bulbs I already have. I will not use the remote control or dimming features of these smart bulbs, as I will continue to turn them off and on with wall switches. The purpose of these smart bulbs is merely to report to Sense when the light switch is turned on.
Hue bulbs are $15 each, so I recognize that this system is not a cost effective way to monitor usage. Here is the key idea, however, which makes my plan useful. I will place the new Hue bulbs in fixtures that have multiple bulbs. The smart bulb then becomes what I call an indicator bulb. If the indicator bulb is on and using 9 watts, then I will know that the other bulbs in that fixture are also on and are using their nameplate capacity.
I will install one of the bulbs in a ceiling fan which has three A19 bulbs. The other two bulbs in that fixture are also 9 watt LED bulbs. If this indicator bulb is ON, then I will know that instead of the 9 watts that Hue reports, I am actually accounting for 27 watts of usage. My indicator ratio is 3.00.
I will install the other indicator bulb in the basement. Illumination in the basement is two fluorescent-style LED fixtures rated at 48 watts each, plus a bare A19 bulb in an old-fashioned, ceiling-mounted, lamp socket. All three of these fixtures activate with one switch. When this indicator bulb is on, I will know that instead of the 9 watts that Hue reports, I am actually accounting for (9 + 48 + 48 = 105) watts of usage. My indicator ratio for this bulb is 11.67.
With each indicator bulb accounting for more than merely its own usage, I talked myself into spending the $15 per bulb. Now here comes the feature request. Could Sense add a user input field to the Manage tab of every Phillips Hue device which would accept numerical input of an indicator ratio? For the first bulb, I would input the value 3.00, while for the second, I would input 11.67. The other half of the feature request is for them to then multiply the value that Hue reports to Sense by the user input ratio before displaying the usage bubble on the Now tab. If the user does not input a value, the ratio would default to 1.00. The Hue bulb on my front porch would keep this default ratio, since it is not in a fixture with multiple bulbs.