Compare energy usage with your neighbors

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The Independent Online

Software company Intel has revealed a new home energy hub that could control appliances and thermostats linked to the smart grid.

Intel unveiled the "intelligent home energy management proof of concept reference design" at the West Coast Green Conference in San Francisco, California on September 30. The device is designed to undertake a number of energy-saving functions including calculating the total amount of electricity used by networked appliances in the home, allowing thermostats to be programmed via touchscreen and allowing users to work with networked appliances' demand-response programs to maximize their electricity savings.

The device could also allow users to compare their personal energy usage with that of their neighbors. 

Intel's home energy management system is essentially a miniature computer and, as such, third parties would be able to build applications for it; in this regard Intel's device works along similar lines to Echelon's ECOS system.

The ECOS system which was unveiled on September 8 is a platform for the smart grid similar to the IOS or Android platforms for smart phones. Users can build applications for the system which would enable consumers to reduce their electricity usage.