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This smart electric panel can tell you when your appliances are about to die

Square D Energy Center
(Image credit: Schneider Electric)

At CES 2021, environment and energy savings continues to be a major theme across tech. One of the benefits of smart light switches, smart outlets, and smart light bulbs is the potential to save energy, which is not just good for the environment, but for your wallet too. However, it’s sort of a piecemeal approach, and doesn’t address the biggest sources of energy consumption in your house, namely appliances. 

Schneider Electric’s new Square D Energy Center, which it debuted at CES 2021, looks to help you manage your energy consumption, not just by keeping tabs on your refrigerator and washing machine, but also by incorporating solar energy and alternative power sources and switching between both and grid-supplied power. 

Think of the Square D Energy Center as a super-smart fuse box. It gets plugged into all the circuits in your house which you can then monitor and control through an app. Additionally, it can be connected to solar panels or a generator and automatically switch the source of your power depending on current energy rates, or if the power grid goes down.

Because the Energy Center is connected to the cloud, it can also recommend the optimal time of day to run energy-intensive appliances, or, say, recharge your electric car. In the event of a blackout, it can also determine which circuits are essential — such as the one for your refrigerator — and which ones aren’t, and automatically direct your backup power to those that need to remain on. In addition, it also has built-in surge protection, in case there’s a sudden shock to your lines.

Similar to how some of the best water leak detectors can sense when there’s a leak due to a change in water pressure, Schneider Electric’s Square D Energy Center uses algorithms to sense if an appliance is nearing failure; for example, a washing machine that’s on its last legs might draw more power than one that’s operating normally. 

The Square D Energy Center is the latest addition to Schneider Electric’s Wiser Energy lineup of products. The company currently sells the Wiser Home Energy Monitoring Kit ($300), which can be self-installed and keeps tabs on your home energy consumption. However, it can’t turn off circuits and the like.

Schneider Electric will also soon start selling its own line of smart light switches and smart outlets that can tie into its Energy Center; these will be priced similarly to the best smart light switches currently on the market ($30-$50), and will come in a variety of finishes. 

Mike Prospero

Michael A. Prospero is the deputy editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing the smart home, drones, and fitness/wearables categories. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine or some other cooking gadget.

  • mij1525
    Looks like a white-labelled version of Sense's device that's been around for years. Not innovative and has the same unfortunate limitations - can't aggregate data from multiple circuit boxes if you have solar panels. Silly that this thing has been around for 4-5 years and they still haven't solved that yet.
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