Back in February we first learned about the what looks to be very innovative modlet smart plug from start up ThinkEco. They then disappeared below the radar like so many other small companies developing a new product, surfacing today with word of the debut of the modlet for commercial installations.
The ThinkEco modlet, which reportedly will be available in the first half of 2011 for consumers for around $40, is described as “an energy-intelligent outlet that pays for itself, on average, in less than six months by monitoring appliance-level power use, then disconnecting power to save energy, money, and CO(2) when specific equipment isn’t needed.” It is said by its designers to be the “first redesign of the common outlet since the ground plug was added in 1928.” That is a bold claim indeed.
Regarding how it works, one installs one or more of these around the home or business. A wireless network of modlets, said ThinkEco, will collect energy consumption data of home or office equipment in real-time and communicate that through what looks to be a USB stick connected to a computer. Through its web-based interface, users can see the detailed data and refine an energy savings program created by the modlet’s algorithms to cut power to devices when they are unneeded. It is said through this system one can save between 10 and 20% off an electricity bill, meaning this device could pay for itself in a relatively short period of time.
“You can make big changes that will save energy, like installing insulated windows, a more efficient HVAC system, or by switching to fluorescent lights,” said Jun Shimada, president and CEO of ThinkEco, in a statement. “Recouping plug-load waste, though, requires finding savings through dozens and hundreds of small actions, which individually you may never notice. The modlet helps to automatically trim many of the most common sources of plug-load waste. For energy saving actions that can’t be automated, the modlet makes the connection for people between what they do and what is shown on the power bill. Just like posting calories in a restaurant doesn’t force you to eat better, being able to see the numbers still leads to a natural improvement of behavior.”
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