Erika Diamond from ThinkEco discusses the potential energy use impacts of her company’s latest product.
Ben Lack: I’m here with Erika Diamond of ThinkEco. Thanks so much for being with us today.
Erika Diamond: Thank you for having me.
Ben Lack: Talk to us a little bit about what the company does.
Erika Diamond: Sure. So we develop energy efficiency solutions. The modlet is our hardware and software plug-load solution for commercial offices as well as residential homes. It’s a retrofit solution, so this is a modlet. Plug it directly into the wall, and it communicates wirelessly with your computer, and through a web interface, you can see how much energy you are using real-time and historically. And then you can also program your modlets to go on and off to save you money and energy.
Ben Lack: Very cool. And give us a range of how much somebody can expect to save from this solution.
Erika Diamond: Sure. We think it’s about 10% of your electricity bill, so if you think about it, you’re not home and sleeping probably more than half the day, and so that’s where the savings really come from – powering things down when you don’t usually use them.
Ben Lack: Sure. When someone puts the system somewhere in their office, what are the most common applications?
Erika Diamond: I would say the best places for savings are things like vending machines, water coolers, coffee makers, things that are really drawing energy all the time, even when nobody notices it. The savings there can be anywhere from 35-80% of how much energy that specific appliance uses.
Ben Lack: So someone, last person out of the day, everybody else is gone, you can now turn it off?
Erika Diamond: Yes, and you can even program things individually, so if you know that the marketing section uses things later, and the finance section, you can kind of leave their appliances off while turning others on.
Ben Lack: So is the technology just that you can turn things on or off, or does it also do other things?
Erika Diamond: There’s a lot of smarts, so you can see how much energy you’re using real-time, you can look at your historical data to get a sense of what the patterns in the office are. I think a lot of facilities managers really love to see, you know, there is a printer jam over the weekend, or this printer uses so much, maybe we should get rid of it and utilize the more energy-saving printers. So there’s a lot of stuff you can do with the data that I think is really valuable.
Ben Lack: And is it just spitting out the numbers or does it also provide analytics?
Erika Diamond: Yes, for commercial customers we provide a monthly report, and that will provide a lot of analytics that will tell you about different things that might have happened over the month with each appliance that might be out of the ordinary, as well as how much kilowatt-hours each appliance generally uses, how much they use when they’re just idling. So it will give you a lot of in-depth analysis of your appliance energy use.
Ben Lack: How long does the unit itself last? I mean, are people going to have to buy a new one at a certain point?
Erika Diamond: Well, because we’re an energy-saving product, we hope not. We expect the product lifetime to be about 5 years, and we are working on end-of-life solutions for recycling and product take-back.
Ben Lack: Why does this company interest you? Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Erika Diamond: I have been an environmentalist since I was probably 13 years old, and it’s really great to see that there are now ways for people to save money, make money, and also conserve at the same time. So, for me, it’s very exciting.
Ben Lack: Thanks so much for the time I appreciate it. I wish you and your team a lot of luck.
Erika Diamond: Sure, thank you!