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Cut Energy Costs and Control Your Timber Home From Your Smartphone

New devices help monitor electricity use and cost and let consumers run their appliances from a smartphone.

Cut Energy Costs and Control Your Timber Home From Your Smartphone


Hybrid-car drivers with consumption monitors on the dashboard try harder than the rest of us to push a little more gas mileage out of their gas-sipping vehicles. Knowing how many miles to the gallon they are getting at any given moment presents an appealing challenge to squeeze more miles out of a tank of gas.

The ability to similarly monitor electric consumption will soon be available to about 40 million U.S. homeowners. So-called smart meters will be installed in that number of homes by next year. The smart meters will be able to charge lower (or higher) rates at different times of the day.

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To help homeowners take advantage of differing rates — for example, saving dishwasher or clothes-dryer loads for cheaper nighttime rates — General Electric has introduced two new products. An energy display that looks something like a thermostat will receive signals from a home’s smart meter. The display will show near real-time use and cost of the electricity being used. In areas with time-based pricing, consumers will see what price they’re paying. They’ll also be able to see their consumption for the hour, day or month to get a clearer picture of their consumption patterns.

A study by the U.S. Department of Energy showed that real-time pricing information helped reduce electricity costs by 10 percent on average and by 15 percent during peak-use periods.

 

GE also introduced a companion device called Nucleus Energy Manager that can communicate the energy display information outside and throughout the home. The Nucleus would let homeowners control their smart appliances from a computer or a smartphone.

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