To Drive Stake In
By John Laposky On Jul 6 2010 - 7:04pm
NEW YORK — ThinkEco, a 1.5-yearold
start-up, is intent on helping consumers
lower energy consumption and their energy
bills with a simple plug-in solution.
The company is bringing to market
its first product, the Modlet, a plug-in
adapter, or “smart outlet,” that monitors
and controls the energy use of any
appliance or device that is plugged into
it by cutting power according to a manually
programmed or preset schedule.
Standby power draw — “vampire power”
— is significantly reduced.
Through wireless Zigbee browserbased
technology, a user can schedule
when the Modlet (a riff on “modern electric
outlet”) cuts power cold to each device
according to a schedule customized
on a PC through a simple slider interface.
According to ThinkEco, the Modlet
monitors power draw in real time,
second by second.
ThinkEco co-founder and chief
business officer Mei Shibata said that
plugged-in appliances make up a significant share of residential and commercial
energy use today: 40 percent of residential
and 26 percent of commercial, on average
— about $10 billion of wasted energy
annually. Plugged in appliances and
CE devices are the fastest-growing energy
load in both sectors and are expected
to triple by 2030 as consumers continue
to buy more electronic devices.
Shibata said the Modlet can save a
household 10 percent to 20 percent off its
electricity bill with minimal effort out of
the box and as much as 40 percent with
diligent programming. The actual amount
depends on the types of appliances and
how much the Modlets are used.
Some results from ThinkEco’s pilot
testing program, underway now, show
that the Modlet can save approximately
$25 to $160 a year when used with
a printer, $150-$200 with a cable box/
TV setup and $40-$60 with a PC.
The Modlet’s Zigbee interface allows
a user to opt in to share power usage
and saving with the Modlet community
of users, set up competitions, and
share tips on specific model devices.
Shibata said the Modlets will be
available in the fourth quarter for the
enterprise market and Q1 2011 in consumer
channels. The target retail price
to consumers will be $40.