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Model home shows off energy-saving technology

February 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
You can save a lot of money on your electric bill by simply turning off lights when you're not home, unplugging appliances you're not using and reducing your air conditioner use. Here's a tour of a home with the technology to do all of that for you.

Cynthia Miller is lead docent of the Smart Energy Experience, part of Southern California Edison's Energy Education Center in Irwindale. She gave a tour of a house showing the latest energy saving technology available to consumers.

"The coffee maker alone uses 1,400 watts of electricity. That's a lot more than people expect," said Miller.

Some of the devices are tied to the new smart meters now installed on our homes. For example, your clothes dryer.

"So when Edison is experiencing a very high demand for electricity, the meter could send a signal into the home, and the dryer itself would respond by shifting itself into low-heat drying mode," said Miller.

But Edison points out that connecting your devices to the smart meter is not mandatory.

"The customer is always at the forefront of deciding exactly what they want to be controlled in their home, and what settings they want them to be controlled under," said Richard Genece, Southern California Edison.

Other energy-saving tools include solar panels, a micro-wind turbine, a plug-in electric vehicle and a home automation system that can control the energy use in your home even when you're not there.

"You'll notice the lights have dimmed. My shades are coming down in the back, my AC turned off, my ceiling fan turned on behind you, and my appliances are shifting into energy-saving mode," said Miller.

The point of the smart energy experience is to help consumers better manage their energy use and ultimately save money.

The show house is open to the public, with guided tours Monday through Friday.