It's been a big week for GE. On the heels of the technology giant's anouncement of a $200 million Smart Grid Challenge, it releases two new technologies -- a super efficient smart appliance called GeoSpring which can instantly cut total home energy use by 7% and now the Nucleus -- a device that allows such smart appliance to "talk" to the Smart Grid, opening up great possibilites for real-time energy management and huge increases in residential energy efficiency.

The device plugs into a regular outlet and wirelessly collects data from a home's smart meter, smart appliances, thermostats, etc. and broadcasts it to your smart phone or computer. This allows you to get precise data about your patterns of energy use and how to adjust them to save money by taking advantage of cheaper off-peak power.

GE has published some alluring iPhone screen shots to give a taste for the type of monitoring and controls available for homeowners with the nucleus system:

Like the recently announced Environ energy control device by Enphase, the Nucleus is set to take advantage of what many are predicting will be a huge area of growth in "smart home" technology. In the next two years it is estimated that over 40 million smart meters will be installed in the U.S. changing the way we consume and manage our home energy use.

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