New York - ThinkEco has shared details of its simple plug-in
solution for cutting the power consumption of commonly used appliances and CE
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 consumption -- "vampire power" -- is significantly
Through wireless Zigbee
browser-based 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.
Shibata pointed out that the Modlet saves significant power
even with Energy Star-certified devices as the standard uses average power
consumption as its baseline and disregards peak cycles. The Modlet's real-time
monitoring takes peak cycles into account and suggests settings to minimized
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 to $200 with a cable box/TV set-up and $40 to $60 with a
On the enterprise side, one medium-sized New York-based
company occupying eight floors of offices and enrolled in the Modlet pilot
program saved about $23,000 in a year, according to ThinkEco.
The Modlet's control interfaces differ for consumers and
commercial customers. Shibata said the Modlet's PC interface was designed for
ease of use through visualization, automation and the quantifying of savings
for the consumer.
The interface comes with preset scheduling for use out of
the box but allows custom scheduling down to the minute. The software
recognizes usage patterns over time and suggests fine-tunings to save more
The interface allows a user to opt in to share power usage
and saving with the Modlet community of users, set up competitions, and share information
and tips on specific model devices.
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.