Blog Post

Green Energy Options' Socket Sensors Plug In to $447K

Green Energy Options, a Cambridge, England-based energy monitoring company, has received a £250,000 ($447,287) investment through the Thames Valley Investment Network as part of an £800,000 funding round.

Green Energy Options is one of a growing number of startups offering products aimed at monitoring and reducing home electricity use. By providing information about how energy is used in the home — when, by what appliances, and at what cost — Green Energy Options says consumers are more likely to take action to reduce home electricity use. One UK study has shown that price and use information can cut residential electric use by 5 to 15 percent.

The GEO residential system, due to launch in early 2009, relies on a set of plug-and-play sensors that monitor energy use at the wall socket and report it to a lower-power LED display interface. Much like the Lucid Design Group’s Building Dashboard, the company’s basic “Solo” unit reports how much energy the home is currently drawing from the power grid; how much energy has been consumed over the billing period; and what the costs of that power are in terms of cash and carbon. Its more advanced Duo and Trio systems allow users to plug in as many as 7 and 100 home appliances, respectively, and display information about their energy use on an expanded dashboard. The beefier systems also allow users to turn plugged-in devices on and off remotely. We’re not sure what network the devices are using to communicate information to and from the sensors, but the company is an advocate of an open standards approach.

Green Energy Options also offers energy monitoring solutions for businesses and schools, which use web-based displays, rather than in-home dashboards, and offering more detailed usage information and management options. Business applications are currently in trials, and CEO Patrick Caiger-Smith told Eureka magazine that the company will use the new funding to establish its supply chain and ramp up funding of its products.