GE unveiled Nucleus™, a communication and data storage device that provides consumers with secure information about their household electricity use and costs so they can make more informed choices about how and when to use power.
GE says the Nucleus brings the promise of the smart grid into consumers’ homes. As utilities deploy smart meters, the Nucleus will collect and store a consumer’s household electricity use and cost data for up to three years, and present it to consumers in real-time using simple, intuitive PC and smart phone applications, helping consumers monitor and control their energy use.
Nucleus is the first product in GE’s Brillion™ suite of smart home energy management solutions that will help consumers control their energy use and costs. In addition to Nucleus, GE’s Brillion suite will include a programmable thermostat, in-home display, a smart phone application, and smart appliances for the entire home.
"Currently consumers have little more than a monthly utility bill to determine what they’re using and spending," said Dave McCalpin, GM, Home Energy Management. "GE’s Nucleus with Brillion technologywas developed to provide real-time information for more control over household energy costs and consumption. It serves as the command center for energy and cost conscious homeowners to make smarter, more informed decisions."
By 2012, US utilities are expected to install more than 40 million smart meters. These digital meters enable utilities 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.
With these new pricing plans, however, comes the need for innovative technologies to help consumers manage their usage. Along with monitoring their whole-home energy consumption, consumers will have the option to automatically adjust thermostats or alter the consumption of GE Profile™ appliances with Brillion Technology in response to utility price signals.
Future Brillion options will also 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.
Nucleus is expected to be available for consumer purchase in early 2011 at an estimated retail price of $149-$199.