How about turning over the management of a home’s heating and cooling to a super smart web-based entity? That’s more or less what’s coming down the pike for Texans this summer with implementations planned across the country as more utilities sign on.
Earth NetworksSM the operator of the largest weather, lightning and climate observation networks, andEnergyHub, Inc., a leading provider of home energy management software and systems, announce a new home demand response and energy efficiency program called e5SM. The patent-pending e5 program, which stands for ease, energy, efficiency, environment and earth, incorporates for the first time live, neighborhood-level weather conditions and forecasts into demand response programs that aim to reduce peak consumer demand to better manage grid load during extreme weather. According to Dave Oberholzer, products and business development director for Earth Networks Energy:
“Many utilities are interested in rolling out demand response programs, but user adoption is limited because consumers want to retain control of their thermostat and remain comfortable while saving both energy and money”
The program is designed to provide home energy efficiency without sacrificing comfort, while putting the consumer in control.
Utility Company Opportunities
The e5 program takes the burden off utilities to supply, install and maintain home thermostats because consumers play an active role in the program. When consumers choose to join, they select and install a program-compatible Internet-enabled thermostat that is available at major home improvement retailers and online. The program is launching with the 3M Filtrete™ Wi-Fi-enabled programmable thermostat, which includes EnergyHub’s user-friendly software that guides the consumer through the setup process and provides them with ongoing remote HVAC control.
Based on the consumer’s own selections, the e5 program maintains desired comfort level while optimizing energy use by pre-cooling or pre-heating in response to local weather, and when a demand response event is anticipated by forecasted conditions. Further, the e5 program provides homeowners with a home energy audit, which ranks the efficiency of the house using local weather conditions including temperature, wind and solar fluctuations. From the rankings, e5 provides a customized and prioritized list of recommended steps consumers can take to save energy and reduce costs for their home energy systems, which drive the majority of consumer demand during peak periods.
Uses Local Weather Information
Weather is the largest variable impacting home energy demand. To maximize effectiveness, the e5 program integrates data from more than 8,000 state-of-the-art Earth Networks weather stations installed at schools and public buildings around the country to provide live, hyper-local weather data for a customer’s location. In contrast, other approaches rely on weather data from an often distant location, such as an airport, with delayed reporting that may not represent actual current local conditions.
In developing the e5 program, Earth Networks and EnergyHub sought to overcome a major factor overlooked by many existing demand response programs – occupant comfort. Unlike existing demand response programs that turn off or cycle home thermostats on a pre-defined schedule regardless of the actual indoor temperature, e5 puts the consumer in control. With e5, users dynamically adjust their comfort settings using EnergyHub’s website and mobile apps.
The e5 program is available to all utilities, whether they have existing demand response programs or want to replace their current programs with a more consumer-oriented offering.