Smarter Control for Window Air Conditioners

Window air conditioners, the workhorse for many residents in urban areas, represent a large portion of the summertime energy demand for utilities. Unlike with their sleeker sibling -- central air conditioning, consumers previously had no way to remotely control their window AC use, forcing utilities to leave them out of demand response programs.

That changes with the ThinkEco modlet smartAC kit, which brings device-level demand response to the residential utility market. The technology converts any window air conditioner into an Internet-connected device, controllable on-the-go.

Customers can use the modlet to control their air conditioners 24/7, with the ability to preset schedules through any web browser, so that their window air-conditioners only turn on when needed, transforming the stand-alone window air-conditioner into a smart, networked device that gives users enhanced convenience and control. 

Utilities have access to real-time energy data and can reduce peak summer loads through targeted demand-response signals. Utilities can use the smartAC to create demand response programs that are easy to participate in by providing self-installable equipment that's fun and simple to use and create targeted programs to any geographic area of high priority during an emergency.

The market for nonutility, smart energy management devices is growing quickly. According to IMS Research, annual revenues for smart energy management devices deployed for the U.S. residential market via nonutility channels were expected to nearly double to more than $320 million in 2012 from an estimated $178 million in 2011. By 2017, this figure is projected to grow to more than $1.6 billion for smart versions of devices ranging from appliances to thermostats to electric vehicle chargers and photovoltaic systems.

Now that’s pretty cool.

Check out more from Verizon at CES.