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General Electric Plans to Bring Smart Meters to the Olympics

The engineering giant plans to showcase a raft of new green technologies -- including smart metering buildings, rainwater harvesting, LED lights and more as part of development plans for the London 2012 Games.

General Electric (GE) is planning to provide a range of smart meter systems to the London 2012 Olympic Village as part of a project that the company hopes will become a showcase for the technology.

The engineering giant is one of the key suppliers to the London Olympics and has set out a number of proposals for projects designed to act as forerunners for the wider deployment of environmental technologies.

Central to the proposals is one project, currently being discussed with City Hall, the General Olympic Executive, the Department of Energy and Climate Change and electricity supplier EDF, that would see buildings in the Olympic Village and potentially the wider Olympic Park installed with smart meters.

The information from the meters could then be used to show the public how much energy different buildings are using and give them an idea of the benefits real-time smart meters can deliver, according to GE's general manager of its London 2012 projects team, Tony Gale.

"It's how you use the information from smart meters to change people's behavior, rather than the installation of the meters themselves, which is interesting," he explained. "We want to show people the benefits of having detailed information on electricity use through information coming out of the Olympic village."

Smart meters are capable of providing a detailed breakdown of the electricity used by individual appliances within a building at certain times of the day. Trials have shown that providing residents with such information encourages them to turn off devices when they are not in use, cutting energy use in some cases by over 20 per cent.

At the end of last year the government said it would mandate all U.K. households to have the technology by 2020, but many businesses and consumers remain unaware of the technology and the energy savings it can deliver.

Alongside the smart meters, GE is also hoping to showcase rainwater harvesting systems capable of capturing water for cleaning and irrigation, as well as supplying some potable water on site.

The company installed a similar rainwater filtration solution at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium and hopes that the high water table that is found across much of the London site will make the case for rainwater capture systems attractive.

The firm is also looking to install solar powered and LED lighting systems on signs traffic lights and along pathways on the site.

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