Based in New York City, ThinkEco has developed the patent-pending Modlet ("modern outlet"), an intelligent outlet that optimizes energy use of electronic appliances.

Standby power is wasted electricity consumed by electronic appliances when they are switched off, amounting to about 5-10% of residential electricity use.  Think about your television.  Or your desktop computer.  Or your coffee machine.  Or your air conditioner.  And the list goes on.

This chart which outlines the amount of power used by various appliances in on/off/sleep modes.  If your laptop consumes up to 50W even when it is turned off, why not just unplug it?

Or, have a device unplug it for you?  Enter the Modlet.

The Modlet provides intelligent use of electricity - like what the Nest does for heating.  But the Modlet is even simpler than the Nest; it's just a smart on/off switch.  The Modlet completely disconnects appliances when they are not needed (generally at night or when you're away from home).  And then re-connects the appliances when they are.

The Modlet plugs into a wall socket and wirelessly connects to a computer through a USB key, and provides easy-to use interface software to monitor and control the power usage of electronic devices.

This basic on/off binary concept proves to be extremely efficient - for residents and commercial units alike.  More than 25% of electricity that companies use goes to plug loads (computers, printers, water coolers, etc), meaning ample margin to optimize standby power usage for commercial buildings as well as houses.

The Modlet is already on the market and the most basic unit, the home starter kit rings in at $50, and pays for itself in 6-12 months.

Home energy management (HEM) is a hot 2.0 topic - and rightfully so.  It's exciting for an individual to have control over his energy consumption - and how else are we going to encourage behavior changes if we do not empower individuals with knowledge and control?

At the same time, there's so many new HEM systems and gadgets coming out, that it can be overwhelming and over-complicated for a newbie.  If you are interested in tapping into this realm, ThinkEco's Modlet seems to be a good, easy, no-risk place to start.  And a way to quickly understand and control your electricity usage.  And make an immediate difference.

ThinkEco is taking efficiency one step further and partnering with Con Edison to improve usage of window air conditioners by allowing users to adjust and control temperature remotely.

Beyond the Modlet's extremely cute exterior, ThinkEco is exploring a wide range of efficiency innovation with this genius device.