Ford has announced the MyEnergi Lifestyle program in collaboration with Eaton, SunPower and WhirlPool designed to help US families reduce electricity usage through monitoring it in the cloud.
Additional partners include Infineon and Nest Labs, the maker of a smart thermostat. As part of the collaboration, the companies are teaming up on a contest that will award their products to one “typical American family” to demonstrate potential conservation.
“MyEnergi Lifestyle showcases how combining renewable energy generation with “time-flexible” loads optimizes energy consumption across a plug-in vehicle and home appliances,” Ford noted in its announcement.
The group teamed up with Georgia Institute of Technology to calculate the potential savings. The study showed that consumers could reduce energy costs by as much as 60 percent in one year, thereby saving over 9,000kg of CO2.
“If every home in the U.S. were to implement these energy-saving technologies, it would be the equivalent of taking all the homes in California, New York and Texas off the power grid (32 million homes),” Ford said in a statement.
While the initiative might not have the same kind of consumer allure as the new smartphones and TVs unveiled at CES, it does represent an important cooperation across several industries. As the number of electricity-dependent devices we own increases, energy conservation becomes an increasingly significant issue for us.
One of the key principles for MyEnergi Lifestyle is the reliance on smart devices to draw energy during off-peak hours. Ford’s C-MAX Energi hybrid electric vehicle already knows to charge during low-cost electricity hours, and smart, connected household appliances are also moving forward.
The end vision is a mobile app that automates or controls household electricity to manage tasks like charging a vehicle, making ice and heating water at night when electricity is cheaper. The cohort also maintains that off-peak electricity is cleaner because it usually has a higher mix of renewable energy sources, so cloud-managed usage could also have environmentally-friendly benefits in addition to cost savings.
Click here for more of our CES 2013 coverage.
Image credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images