Tracking and reducing home energy consumption is all the rage. As individuals look for ways to use energy more wisely, manufacturers have discovered a market for new technologies that can make conserving energy easy and maybe even a little bit fun.
Smart meters, intuitive thermostats, and a plethora of energy tracking mobile apps have appeared on the market. Those with true potential to help you reign your energy-wasting habits are often made by companies who've taken a more thoughtful approach. Back in 2010, EarthTechling reported that GE was diving into the home energy management market with the Brillion line of products. Now, the company has announced that Sears will be the first retailer to offer the Brillion line, giving customers the ability to control over 60 percent of their home’s energy usage remotely.
The entire Brillion system revolves around the Nucleus (above, left), a device designed to gather energy use data from your home's existing smart network, i.e. smart meter, smart appliances, etc. The Nucleus translates near real-time energy consumption into estimated energy dollars spent, based on standard or variable time-of-use pricing structures, and operates in conjunction with smart energy programs provided by your local electricity company. Additionally, everything can be tracked and controlled by the GE Nucleus iPhone app.
Information gathered by the Nucleus is then transmitted wirelessly to the Brillion Energy Display device (above, right) where users will see how much electricity they're consuming in both kilowatt hours and dollars. According to GE, utilities will also be able to communicate directly with customers via the energy display, sending messages and reminders about utility maintenance, pricing changes, or critical conservation periods.
For the past year or so, Brillion has only been available to utility companies. Now, 100 Sears stores in the Northeast will offer the GE Get Connected Starter Kit, plus the GE programmable thermostat and GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater all with Brillion technology, directly to consumers all in one location.
“Providing a connected solution that allows consumers to take control of their home and gain insight, convenience and peace of mind to help them live more productive lives while saving money, will offer shoppers a unique solution that they can only get at Sears," said Dave McCalpin, GE Appliances manager of home energy management.
Well, for now at least.
No word on how much the GE Get Connected Starter Kit costs, but the estimated retail price for the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater is $1,199-$1,299.