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Motion Detecting BugPlug Powers Off Gadgets to Save Electricity

BugPlug Energy Saving Device

Many of our home devices are wasting electricity when they are consuming power in standby mode.  Some of these gadgets don’t even have an on/off switch and you have to unplug it or connect it to a power strip that you can turn off.

It might only be a few watts, but add up all of the phantom power consumed in your home and you might be motivated to find a way to save electricity costs. Some estimates put the power usage of standby devices at ten percent of total consumption. Heat generated from devices can limit their lifespan and require your air conditioning systems to work harder. Read more »

MeterPlug Helps Save Money and Energy

Here’s a neat piece of pre-production technology called MeterPlug.  MeterPlug measures electricity consumption by plugging in between any appliance and the AC outlet.  The smart plug uses Bluetooth 4.0 to send data to your smartphone and enable features like proximity control, manual on/off, and vampire power shield.  In other words, with a range of about 100 feet and a smartphone, it’s easy to shut down appliances or calculate the costs of standby power.  Each plug is a little expensive right now, but if you want to try MeterPlug, you can pledge support at Indiegogo.

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Solar Electric Bonsai Tree for the Home

Here’s an update to an old article about a tree-shaped charger powered by solar energy. Vivien Muller’s Electree+ is on Kickstarter seeking to raise $200,000 to mass-produce these little home/office gadgets here in the USA. The new prototype will be made with an 14,000 mAh internal battery, 27 amorphous silicon solar cells (each about 3.7 inches), and an easy-to-assemble tree structure that can be customized. In case you’re interested, the early bird gets in at the ground level for ~$199.00.

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Nest Announces New Ultra-Thin Thermostat

If you’re in the market for a better thermostat, you should know the new, second-generation Nest Learning Thermostat was announced this week.  It’s 20% thinner and works in 95% of homes with low-voltage systems (including 2nd stage cooling, 3rd stage heating, dual fuel, emergency heat, and whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers), thanks to new hardware, improved software, more features, and more apps.  Based on updated pricing, the first Nest is now selling for $229, as supplies last, and the new Nest is selling for $249, with first orders expected to ship on October 15, 2012.

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SmartThings is a Universal Smart System

There’s an interesting Kickstarter campaign right now for an innovation called SmartThings.  SmartThings is a Minnesota-based company and an open platform to connect everyday things to the internet to monitor, control, and automate.  The company wants to add “intelligence to everyday things in your world, so that your life can be more awesome.”  It consists of a hub, “things,” maker tools, a cloud platform, and mobile app.

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Wattvision Pursues Next Gen Energy Monitor

I mentioned Wattvision previously, and the company is now running a Kickstarter campaign to deploy its complete the next generation of hardware, cover more types of power meters, and deploy the new hardware by about January 2013.  Wattvision 2 includes a sensor that attaches to your home electricity meter and a gateway that connects up with your internet network.  With these in place, a user can check electricity use online or from a smart phone.

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