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Advancements in smart-grid tech for consumers

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A recent piece from AOL’s DIY Life blog shares news of three “game-changing” green technology products. Among the most interesting are a set of smart grid-enabled appliances that give users all sorts of details about energy consumption and some ways to control and reduce energy use — and, therefore, the amount spent to run those appliances.

The basic idea is that electricity costs more when increased demand — from, say, loads of air conditioner use on a steamy afternoon — puts more strain on the electrical grid. Smart grid-enabled appliances can help reduce peak-time use, reduce environmental impact and save you money. For example, “The smart-grid refrigerator delays the defrost cycle from occurring during peak hours, when it goes into energy saving mode. According to GE, one participant’s energy-efficiency efforts with refrigerator usage over 10 weekdays showed over a 20% reduction of energy used during peak hours.”

Meanwhile, CNet.com’s Green Tech blog says many of these smart-grid gizmos are starting to become more consumer-friendly — which you’d think would have been the idea from the get-go. The photo at right shows just one of these applications, a cell phone running the Web-based PowerMeter application from Google (yes, the search company).

Have you seen any interesting advancements in green tech lately? Have you had any first-hand experiences with smart-grid technology? Let us know in the comments.