Keep your neighborhood cool

At the intersection of the Internet of Things and the power industry is the smart grid — a 21st-century update to our electrical infrastructure that can link generation, demand, pricing and users in real time. Residents of New York City can get an early taste of this technology by joining the coolNYC program, which offers automation products and cash incentives to cut down on the use of air conditioners when the grid is straining under peak demand.

A collaboration between power supplier Con Edison and ThinkEco, an NYC startup that makes wirelessly-connected plugs and outlets — called "modlets" — that can turn appliances on and off through the Internet. The company's smartAC kits add a remote thermostat, which senses the ambient air temperature in a room and communicates with a modlet hooked to the AC unit to keep the room at a desired temperature.

Residents who join coolNYC receive one of these smartAC kits free of charge, in exchange for allowing Con Edison to remotely lower the temperature or shut down the AC when there's too much demand on the grid — typically for a few hours, and only on excessively hot days, which occur a few times each summer. Those who already own a Wi-Fi enabled AC unit (specifically the Friedrich Kühl and theFrigidaire Cool Connect) can also enroll in the program.

Community Smart Grid AC Control: coolNYC

Folks who find other ways to beat the heat will be rewarded through a point system, which can be redeemed in the form of gift cards.

In addition to helping maintain the reliability of the city's electrical grid, coolNYC participants get all of the benefits of a smart, Internet-connected AC unit: automatic temperature adjustments, remote control through the ThinkEco app, and a cloud-based dashboard to track energy reductions and savings that will be reflected in lower energy bills.

Check out the program at, and watch the video below to learn more about ThinkEco.

Related: Smart AC Retrofits


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