It will probably be years until the electrical grid saves us money and power by telling our appliances to switch on during cheaper low-demand hours. But you don’t need to wait—these intelligent devices make their own decisions right now.
Thermostats running EcoFactor software can shave up to 30 percent off heating and cooling costs. The service, sold through utility, Internet and cable providers, uses the Web to access your usage history and weather data to adjust the temperature.
EcoFactor; Prices vary; ecofactor.com
Chargers suck “vampire power” even when there’s nothing to charge. The four-inch IDAPT i1 Eco can turn itself off when gadgets are fully powered, and its interchangeable connectors can accommodate more than 4,000 devices.
IDAPT i1 Eco; $25 (charger and 3 connectors); idaptweb.com
AlertMe, an energy-monitoring service, comes with keychains that switch your home to your chosen “away” settings—like turning off your home theater’s power—as soon as the last person’s out the door. The dongles work with outlets and thermostats programmed through AlertMe’s website. The U.K. company starts U.S. trials this year.
AlertMe Keyfob; Price not set; alertme.com
The Modlet smart socket fits into a standard outlet and cuts power when electronics, like energyhungry HDTVs, are in standby mode. The Modlet trains itself: When it senses unnecessary use, it employs a wireless connection to prompt users through e-mail or an app with an on/off choice. After as little as a week, it has enough info to work solo.
Modlet; $50; thinkecoinc.com
New LG laundry machines are WiFi-enabled, so they track changing energy costs throughout the day—a trend in utility billing to encourage conservation—and run a load when prices are lowest. The washer can save about 75 percent of the energy cost of a top-loading machine.
LG ThinQ Washer/Dryer; Price not set; lg.com
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.