On the Horizon

High-tech Electric Meters
In the future, your electric meter may be able to sense power outages, detect wiring problems, monitor appliance efficiency, and send reports instantly to the power company. The company can then save you money by notifying you of problems or by remotely shutting down noncritical appliances during peak-rate hours. These are already in use with big industrial and commercial power users.

LED Lightbulbs

Airtight recessed lights save space

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)—now seen primarily in flashlights, traffic signals, and auto taillights—are already saving billions of kilowatt hours of electricity. They use just 10 percent of the power needed for incandescent bulbs of the same brightness and should last for at least 10,000 hours. These wonder bulbs promise to be the next big thing in residential lighting. Gallant can"t wait. "They'd be great for a cathedral ceiling because you almost never have to change the bulbs."

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