GE has unveiled a Zigbee-compliant in-home energy monitor that transmits real-time energy consumption data to computers and smartphones. The Nucleus communicates with smart meters to collect and store real-time household electricity consumption and pricing data for up to three years.
“Currently consumers have little more than a monthly utility bill to determine what they’re using and spending,” said Dave McCalpin, manager of GE’s Home Energy Management, in a statement. “[GE’s Nucleus] serves as the command center for energy and cost conscious homeowners to make smarter, more informed decisions.”
The Nucleus is expected to be available for consumer purchase in early 2011 at an estimated retail price of $149-$199. GE will launch computer software and a smartphone app for the device.
U.S. utilities are expected to install more than 400 million smart meters by 2012 as part of an effort to make the country’s aging electric grid more efficient, according to estimates provided by GE. The meters allow utility companies to charge time-of-use rates for electricity throughout the day. When demand is low, electricity will cost less, and when demand is at its peak, utilities will charge more to encourage off-peak consumption.
The Nucleus is targeted at helping consumers take advantage of off-peak rates and is the first product in GE’s Brillion lineup of smart home energy management products. Future options in the Brillion lineup will include alerts to assist consumers with daily tasks, such as when to change the refrigerator’s water filter or when the dryer cycle ends. Software upgrades will further enable Nucleus to monitor water, natural gas, and renewable energy sources, as well as plug-in electric vehicle charging.