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Miele showcases a washing machine that knows when electricity is cheap

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September 1, 2010

Miele's smart grid ready appliances can be programmed to run when electricity is least exp...

Miele's smart grid ready appliances can be programmed to run when electricity is least expensive

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Miele has announced its new smart grid ready domestic appliances at IFA 2010. These appliances have been designed to start automatically when electricity is cheapest, offering consumers energy savings. The first two appliances featuring smart-grid functionality will be a washing machine and a tumble dryer. The models can also be fitted with Miele’s gateway communication module, providing access to the appliances through a PC and the ability to monitor electricity rates.

After adding tariff data, the consumer can activate the Smart Start function in the appliance display – once the earliest starting time and the latest finishing time have been programmed in. Once installation is complete, the appliances will automatically run when electricity is cheapest. "Over the coming years, we are likely to see considerable variance in electricity rates in Germany," says Peter Hübinger, Managing Director of Electronic Production at Miele. "With smart grid ready appliances, Miele is offering a highly relevant and future-proof solution."

Miele has also released appliances with intelligent electric controls, which not only display error messages but can contact the owner via the Internet to report problems. The consumer receives an email from the central server, provided they have already registered on Miele’s website to activate the program. This allows for safety away from home, since if an appliance temperature is rising, a prompt notification will be delivered. An email can also remind you to clean the fluff filter in the tumble dryer, or of other possible faults. If servicing is required, the error message information can be sent to the service technician before arriving. This way, they can know ahead of time which problem has occurred and which spare parts are likely to be needed.

In addition to appliances that save energy costs and email you if the fridge door has been left open, an iPhone application called InfoControl Plus allows full control of all Miele appliances at a single glance. Consumers are now able to check up on the status of appliances throughout the home or even remotely control them. The application allows you to switch machines on or off anywhere around the home, but it will not allow you to switch on an oven or steam cooker, or turn off a refrigerator. In addition to the obvious safety advantages, convenience is also an added bonus. The program can also send you messages such as when the roast needs basting, or if the dryer is ready to be unloaded. You can also see the added attraction of being able to monitor appliances in homes of the elderly.

The new app will be available as a download from the AppStore and can also be used with both Apple's iPod Touch and the iPad. Most appliances from the Miele range can be controlled using InfoControl Plus.

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.   All articles by Bridget Borgobello
3 Comments

These smart grid features are pushed as benefit for the customer but I believe that this will lead to the more expesive energy for the user.

Energy is cheap when nobody does not need it. This means that only certain activities can be scheduled to that period.

Also pricing by action type model where energy is more expensive when there is higher need for it may lead to exponentially higher prices because utilities now are able to differenciate between the users and bill them accordingly.

Kris Lee
1st September, 2010 @ 02:19 pm PDT

Kris

If a significant move is made to solar, tidal and wind power (which frankly I doubt, but that is the official line) then there will be inevitable gluts of power at times when it would not generally be needed, that will force the energy companies to differentiate the price to help match demand to supply, this will save them money in energy storage and backup plants.

In order for that model to work, devices like this are required. You can't have people rushing home to put the washing machine on when it gets windy!

Facebook User
2nd September, 2010 @ 06:27 am PDT

This is really following the consumers interest but where do we have meters communicating the actual tariff and where do we have time variant tariffs at all?

The second concern is that buyers of high end Miele equipment would not mind about their electricity bills.

I think the business modell should be the other way round. The utility should be able to cut out the 2 kW resistive heating element at all time avoiding peak load problems for some minutes and deduct some money for this service from your bill.

Ernst Fried
21st February, 2013 @ 11:36 pm PST
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