I went to Grid Week 2012 where panelists and speakers talked about how to update the electrical grid infrastructure, and the viability of sustainable power sources. Then I saw Digg founder, Kevin Rose interview Nest Thermostat founder Matt Rogers on his show Foundation and realized how awesome 'smart' household components can truly be, and how much of an effect they can have on electricity consumption. Take a look at the new Nest.
It's a great interview, but the Nest is the best part. It's a super-smart thermostat that learns its user's temperature preferences over about a week and automatically regulates the ideal temperature by monitoring and by memorizing their presence or absence in the house. Also, it monitors outdoor temperatures via the Internet to know how much it has to work. It can be remote controlled via your smart device, and has a bunch of settings.
Looking at the nest is a very apparent way to begin to realize o the room there is for improvement in every day components and the electrical grid, and the talent we have in the country to do it.
Speakers at Grid Week got into 1000-ft views and practical ways to move forward with updating the grid. The general feel of the conference was one of forward momentum. Everyone was trying to figure out the formula where all parties (distributor, generator, customer) would win, and to do it in the most sustainable manner possible.