CoolNYC program helps New Yorkers control air conditioners with smart phones

Jan Tik/CC BY 2.0
Increasing energy efficiency at home isn't just about purchasing a newer, more efficient model of appliance (although that is certainly a big step). It's also possible to reduce energy use by killing phantom loads, and by better management of the cycles of the appliances currently in place, and a new initiative in New York City aims to help residents keep their cool while keeping costs (and energy use) down this summer.

There are millions of window air conditioning units running all summer long in NYC, and the electric demand for powering is huge, which not only leads to high amounts of emissions at the power plants, but it also increases the bills that the consumer has to pay. The CoolNYC program, a partnership with ConEd and ThinkEco, focuses on these air conditioner units as one easy route to bring cost-effective energy management to people's homes.

By combining a modlet (a smart outlet) with window air conditioner units, the program will let New Yorkers not only monitor their window air conditioner energy use with their smartphone (or any browser), but will also let them control it remotely, in real-time.

"There are two ways the modlet can be used to control when your air conditioner is on or off: time and temperature.

First, you can use the computer-based software to set a schedule for your air-conditioner. For example, you may want your window air-conditioner to turn on 30 minutes before you arrive home and then turn off shortly after you go to bed.

Second, you can program a target temperature for your room using the smartAC thermostat. The thermostat will monitor your current room temperature and turn your window air-conditioner on or off to maintain your target temperature. For example, you may want to make sure that the room isn't too uncomfortably hot for your pet during the day while you are at work.

Together, these features of the modlet and smartAC make sure your home stays cool but that your window air-conditioner is only on when you need it to be." - CoolNYC

To find out more, see CoolNYC. It looks like there's a waiting list at the moment but in the meantime, you can get started with energy efficiency thanks to ConEd's free iPhone app with 100 energy saving tips: The Power of Green

Tags: Air Conditioning | Apps | New York City | Technology

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