Energy Apps are beginning to hit the market, helping people control their energy use remotely through their smartphone or browser.
Like this one: New York City residents can control room air conditioners remotely using an App developed by ThinkEco, Inc. Their modlet smartAC kit is available only at select Best Buy stores throughout NYC.
ThinkEco's Modlet = modern electrical outlet - is a smart outlet that wirelessly combines with the smartAC thermostat.
When used together, users can remotely view their current room temperature, change the target temperature for the room, or simply turn the window air conditioner unit on/off from any smartphone or browser. People can also preset on/off schedules for their window AC units, so that their rooms are cooled only when needed, and the savings associated with those schedules are tracked. This transforms the stand-alone window air-conditioner into a smart, networked device.
Once the modlet is connected to the outlet, it wirelessly connects to ThinkEco's cloud solution, which uses proprietary algorithms to provide real time information on power consumption and enables users to set savings schedules, and quantify savings.
Best Buy will be offering modlet smartAC kits for $69.99 for the coolNYC program ($150 MSRP), and its Geek Squad be there to help customers as needed. NYC purchasers will receive a $25 rebate when they set up a smartAC account, and an additional $25 at the end of every summer.
"The modlet smartAC is the only user installable demand-reduction product with a strong consumer and utility benefit," says Mei Shibata, Chief Strategy Officer of ThinkEco. "What this ease-of-use enables is an entirely new way for retailers, like Best Buy, to play a pivotal role in the distribution of utility-sponsored solutions by partnering with utilities and technology providers."
In March, President Obama announced the Green Button program, to makes energy use transparent and forge cleantech business innovation. Soon after, Facebook, Opower and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) unveiled a "social energy app".