ThinkEco’s Modlet Makes Saving Energy Easy


Photo courtesy of cnet

ThinkEco has announced the start of their Eco Empowered Initiative featuring their new product, the modlet. They plan to enroll up to 100 organizations to participate in an innovative study to uncover hidden sources of electricity waste in offices. Through this initiative, organizations will be able to use the modlet device (short for “modern outlet”) and learn why and how to reduce power wasted in their offices.

Many don’t realize how much energy is consumed by appliances: in the residential sector it’s about 40% and is 26% of commercial energy use. With more, and smarter, appliances being utilized every day, this is the fastest growing energy load in both sectors and is expected to triple by 2030. Many of the appliances we use don’t necessarily need to be turned on at all times, yet even when not in use, they continue to draw power.

ThinkEco’s modlet is able to eliminate this wasteful use of power by intelligently scheduling outlets to automatically shut off power to plugged-in appliances when they are not needed. The modlet is therefore able to save between 10 and 20% on electricity bills, with minimal effort. For tenants that don’t have control over the HVAC and lighting systems in their offices, plug-loads are one of the only elements of their carbon footprint they can control.

The modlet device is driven by a web application displaying a real-time graph that shows power usage at each individual power outlet level. All modlets are able to be remotely controlled from any computer with a browser and can even show you the cost per kilowatt hour. The web interface suggests when to schedule power to be cut off to a device, giving users more control over their power consumption.

According to the folks at ThinkEco, other smart outlet products available on the market today, while similar in price point, don’t have the ability to wirelessly communicate power consumption information and are typically unable to both monitor and manage appliances.

For $40, consumers get one modlet with two plug outlets. The company recommends that modlets be used in areas that make sense. Most appliances in a home or office, such as a printer or computer, are typically left on 24/7. Using a modlet, the electrical cost savings will provide a payback of 6-9 months.

ThinkEco was founded in 2008 by a team of concerned entrepreneurs interested in making it easy for people to save energy in their home and office. The modlet is expected to be available for commercial use in the fourth quarter of this year and will be available for consumers around March of 2011. Consumers will be able to purchase the modlet directly from ThinkEco or from standard retail stores when it is released to the market.

Cory Vanderpool joined EnOcean Alliance as the Business Development Director for North America. Prior to this role, she was Executive Director of GreenLink Alliance, a non profit organization dedicated to promoting energy conservation in buildings and tax incentives for building owners. Before establishing GreenLink, Cory worked in business development supporting a government contracting firm focused on civilian and defense markets. In addition to her work at EnOcean, Cory is also pursuing her PhD in Environmental Policy at George Mason University and is a part-time contributing writer at Triple Pundit.

One response

  1. Seems kind of silly. There are smart power strips costing $20 (switch off your printer automatically when you turn off your computer) and smart appliance timers costing as little as $7 (switch off power according to a schedule you set). They save just as much energy as this device. So I’m not sure why people who want to save money would choose the $40 device over the functionally identical ones that cost half as much or less.

    (And if they want to measure power use, they should by a single $20 kill-a-watt rather than a $40 product for each outlet.)

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