February 8, 2011

Energy-smart in-home devices

Posted by: in Things To Watch

ModletReducing one’s carbon footprint seems like a great idea in theory, but in practice it’s hard to know just how much we’re using when. So innovative energy companies are trying a new route to conservation: devices that do the thinking (and sometimes the conserving) for their owners.

Take, for example, the “modlet” (for modern electric outlet) from ThinkEco, shown at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. The user-friendly wall outlet monitors and manages the power consumption of appliances plugged into it, limiting the constant energy pull of toasters and coffee pots not in use. There’s also design-friendly home energy monitors, one of our “100 Things to Watch in 2011.” These digital devices from utilities like PG&E and private manufacturers such as Landis+Gyr are helping consumers “energy diet” by providing them with real-time energy consumption data and pricing information. Faced with peak-time pricing at dinnertime, people may be motivated to wait a few hours before running the dishwasher. And with increased knowledge of customer habits, utilities can better predict demand and conserve energy to further drive savings. —Alex Brousseau

Photo credit: www.thinkecoinc.com

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