Marcelo DeCarmagc, the co-founder of Nudge Systems and the Pleco water monitor, hails from a background of instrumentation and measurement. His partner and co-founder works in the water utility industry. In 2014 they experienced one of the severe droughts common in California. In the process of discussing how difficult it is to get compliance when governments and utilities ask people to conserve water, Nudge Systems was born. The company's goal is to save and conserve as much water as possible while giving people the tools and information they need to make good conservation decisions.
Nudge Systems believes the gap in the residential market related to water conservation, exists because residents don't have an intimate relationship with water, and therefore don't understand exactly what they need to do to make an impact. Their solution, Pleco - named after the common aquarium suckerfish that keeps tanks clean - is based on the premise that people would be more willing to conserve water if they were given more actionable information. Nudge Systems nudges people to take the steps to do what they wanted to do but didn't previously have the information to inspire them to do it.
Most water conservation systems for homeowners are complex, says DeCarmagc, and require professional installation. The Pleco system consists of three main elements and an app, all of which can be installed and deployed easily, without tools. The sensor is a "water watch" that's wrapped around the existing water meter and measures water flow into the home. The sensor data transmits the water usage data to the homeowner via a customized radio system. The data appears on the Pleco touch screen display in real-time. The display also acts as a hub connecting to the internet and a companion smartphone app. The entire system can be set up in minutes by the homeowner.
By measuring water flow in real-time, the homeowner can not only see the information, but via an algorithm that recognizes patterns of usage, can actually identify where the water is going - to showers, faucets, toilets, irrigation, or being lost through leaks. By seeing more clearly in real-time where their water goes, Nudge Systems believes that homeowners can and will change the way they relate with and use water in their home.
The device retails for $249. You can learn more about Nudge Systems by visiting their website.
Interview by Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.