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3. Business Case
6. Success Criteria
7. Next Steps
- In the past, Home Automation was mostly about entertainment. Home theaters that can cue up a movie and darken the room with a flip of a switch. Wireless networks that allow music to be streamed from any room. Recently, though, automation has become synonymous with energy management. Thermostats that automatically raise and lower the temperature based on the time of day. Blinds that close when the sun goes down.
- Homes used 21% of US total energy demand in 2004. Managing the residential sector is an important priority for addressing global warming, conserving resources and improving energy security. A lot of energy is wasted, for example heating/cooling and lighting of unoccupied houses and rooms, and overheating or overcooling to make up for temperature variations. IT enabled monitoring and control technologies have played an important role in eliminating similar kinds of inefficiencies in commercial buildings, so it is natural to think that these systems could have an important role in the home.
- Most homes use energy control technology is at least 20 years old. Only about a quarter of US homes even have simple programmable thermostats. Networked thermostats, power meters and switches, and zone heating can provide information on energy use and allow it to be controlled for distribution only when needed.
- In addition to direct energy savings, homes can participate in peak shifting. Redistributing electricity demand more evenly throughout the day reduces the needs for energy infrastructure.
- There are big gaps in consumer communication which the smart grid can help close. Utilities sell electricity in many ways; but have little concept of how individual customers use it. Customers use products & services; but have little concept of electricity use or value. Products and services use electricity; but have little concept of how and when to conserve. Interoperability and Home Area Network Standards are becoming critical. Many utilities want people to be able to shop for smart thermostats, smart appliances and other smart-grid technologies, if everything is proprietary that becomes much more problematic.
- Controller - Provides a gateway between a variety of standard interfaces found in residential and commercial applications: Abstracts devices and their protocols to a common object model representation so relationships between disparate devices can be made by director.
- EMS – Energy Management System
- Energy Awareness - the ability for products to automatically react and share information with consumers as it relates to changes in electricity prices and activation of demand response events. Extending the meter into the home will require a new class of products that feature energy awareness.
- Energy Services - Energy Services bridge the gaps by giving the customer the ability to meet demand requirements and personal goals regardless.
- ERT – Electronic Receiver/Transmitter Meter
- H2G – Home to Grid – market segment that connects consumer products and smart meters.
- HAN – Home Area Network - From the perspective of energy use, the term Home Area Network was coined to address connectivity between consumer products and smart meters. It covers any means by which a utility customer interconnects devices within a home. Interaction of consumer-owned devices, including distributed energy resources, with the Smart Grid Connecting products to smart meters requires development of an entirely new class of consumer products that are capable of being networked together using one or more communication protocols.
- Grid Direct Messaging (Prices-to-Devices)
- Home Controls - A broad market opportunity encompassing Security, Home Theatre, and Home Automation as well as Energy Management.
- HEM - Home Energy Monitoring device.
- IHD – In-Home Display - This can be a simple LCD device that just passes information to the user or it could be a widget on an HD television.
- Kill-a-Watt - An individual appliance measuring device for analyzing individual appliances and loads one at a time.
- NILM - Nonintrusive Load Monitoring - A process for analyzing changes in the voltage and current going into a house and deducing what appliances are used in the house as well as their individual energy consumption. Electric meters with NILM technology are used by utility companies to survey the specific uses of electric power in different homes. NILM is considered a low cost alternative to attaching individual monitors on each appliance. It does, however, present privacy concerns.
- PCT - Programmable Communicating Thermostat
- Quadruple Play - Back at the start of the century, telecommunications companies described the “triple play” (voice, video, data) opportunity –- a convergence of all media into the home, provided by a single vendor, and streamed onto a variety of consumer devices (phones, TVs, computers, and more). The Smart Grid is the first opportunity to enable the “quadruple play,” made possible by the use of standards-based, scalable smart grid architectures that connect and leverage feature-rich devices and functionality, along with high-bandwidth (and low cost) 4G networking.
- Smart Appliances - Energy aware products that allow consumers and utilities to shape electricity loads during peak periods.
- ZigBee SE – Smart Energy Profile defines the standard behavior of Home Area Network (HAN) devices.
3. Business Case
- According to Navigant Research, global revenue for communicating and smart thermostats and associated software and services is expected to grow from $146.9 million in 2014 to $2.3 billion in 2023.
- Studies show that giving people direct feedback on their energy use leads to a reduction in energy consumption of 5-15%. Home Energy Management will make it possible to get instantaneous pricing information on the electricity that is being used and to scale electricity consumption accordingly. The Smart Grid is a key enabler in communicating peak prices to consumers; and integrating smart appliances with the grid to help customers change their energy consumption habits.
- Evolving into an open eco-system where the devices can come from any provider whether that’s from the utility, or Best Buy down the street or from the appliances that come with the home. Key is to enable them to communicate in real time.
- What matters is the data (about consumption) and control (i.e., automation), not the HAN hardware; . The endgame should focus on building intelligent, automated energy management, not filling the home with a slew of new, narrow-purpose HAN devices. Clearly, the overall trend is toward feature convergence -- more goodies on a few broad-purpose digital platforms. Look at today’s smart phones. Most include GPS, motion sensors, Wi-Fi, cameras, audio players, and you can load almost any clever app you can think of. They are a platform for innovation. Is home energy management an innovation platform or an innovation to add to other platforms? Seems to me we’ve got quite a few platforms already, and they are pretty darn good already.
- Reduced Energy Use - Various studies have shown a reduction in home energy use of 4-15% through use of home energy display. For example, a study using the PowerCost Monitor deployed in 500 Ontario homes by Hydro One showed an average 6.5% drop in total electricity use when compared with a similarly sized control group.
- Identify Energy Spikes - One of the most obvious aspects of real-time measuring is the spikes. You can see them. Sometimes they are staggering. If most people knew that their 500W PC that they leave on all the time is costing them an additional $100/month, they would be somewhat persuaded to turn it off every so often. Seeing spikes a day later will not have the same effect as seeing the data live and asking, “What’s going on?”
- Identify Baseload -Some of the composite parts of the baseload or standing heart rate of the house are comparatively small, but anything that runs 24/7, even low wattage, adds up.
- Identify Anomalies - Sometimes people leave something on that shouldn’t be. By knowing a home’s standing heart rate, it is very easy to identify when something’s been inadvertently left running. This point alone makes the case for real-time monitoring: figuring out the next day that you’ve left a space heater on in the basement is not so helpful.
- Data=Action. The old management axiom: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”
is as true with energy as with anything else. One of the key aspects of real-time monitoring is that it lets you know immediately the impact of your daily activities. Reducing the dryer heat from high to medium has a significant impact on electricity. When they are measurable, those shifts become tangible, and you look for more opportunities.
- Demand Response - Supports load control integration
- Environmental Monitoring - Multiple benefits/value are needed. HEM should answer a market need, solve real problems, beyond 'carbon guilt'. There are specific problems that improved environmental monitoring could mitigate in addition to helping homeowners keep energy costs down. There are 250,000 freeze events per year costing insurers dearly and countless mold claims as well. Offering temp/humidity alerts could potentially reduce insurance costs while being part of the system helping keep residential energy costs down.
|Your Kitchen of the Future|
- Lukewarm Consumer Interest - the less-than-stellar consumer response to various efforts to market energy saving home devices in the past.
- Integration With Other Home Controls - A broad market encompassing Security, Home Theatre, and Home Automation as well as Energy Management. Homeowners would like these devices to work together, not one use case wonders. Low powered wireless networks are designed for low power so that batteries can last for months and years, not for broadband. The consumer does not want more complexity.
- Device Clutter - Companies that are tied to home energy management consoles are most at risk. Most homeowners would prefer to see energy information on their smart phones, computers or TVs and don't want a new, single-purpose device cluttering their counters.
- Low Consumer Price Points - A new survey shows that Americans are willing to pay an average of $48 for equipment that allows them to manage their home energy use. That price might be hard to meet, depending on the technology being deployed.
- Controls/Thermostat Challenges:
- Interface that’s easy to understand and intuitive -- for many sectors of society.
- Learning algorithms that will optimize energy savings and comfort with time varying energy prices (e.g. pre-cooling algorithms)
- Display to the user the expected monthly bill (“shock effect of monthly credit-card-bill”)
- Control strategies for a house that can react to the possibility of low in-house network quality or complete network failure.
- Real Time Limitations - Don’t know the point of diminishing return in data granularity. Recent news that energy monitoring and managing devices will not take advantage of their real-time potential is distressing. Real-time electricity monitoring provides incentives to increase energy efficiency like no other tool. We will continue to advocate for widespread availability of real-time data
- Privacy – Finding right balance between security and simplicity.
- Access to meter information
- Top-down mandated or opt-in
- Upgradeability - Extensibility to wide range of in-home devices. Potential technology obsolescence is low due to multiple bridging options. HAN interface choice isn’t Betamax vs. VHS, rather Mac vs. PC
- Limited Residential Demand Response Potential - Consumers are largely at work during peak periods: Thus, there is far less than can be harvested from consumer demand response. Commercial DR programs tend to work because factories and large commercial buildings use a lot of electricity and can curb power consumption at peak times.
- Business Relationships
- Who owns the customer? Utility, ISP, Retailer?
- Who rolls truck?
- Business model? Pay to play, freemium or “Gainshare”?
6. Success Criteria
- Consistent Experience - Customers would like to go to one place to manage energy usage, control devices, and plan actions. The Web will play a critical role as a cost effective medium to deliver rich information. A consistent Web experience across AMI, DR, EE, and HAN programs is required to engage customers.
- User Centric Design - Consumer owns the HAN The consumer will be king
- Open Standards for Meter Interface to HAN
- Real Time/Two-Way Communication – So that all the devices that are inside the home can be controlled by the user and also be accessible by the utility or at least be able to respond to signals that might come down.
- Real Time Information - Provides direct access to usage data. Get near real time electric use data from AMI meters. Real-time leads to a real map of action.
- Focus on Small to Mid-size Commercial Customers - Big industrial sites and big high-rises already have energy management systems and tie-ins to utility programs. But many smaller commercial properties are still not fully on board. And many utilities believe that it will be far easier to convince commercial property owners to play along than to convince residential customers to change their energy behavior.
7. Next Steps
- The normal Joe on the street isn't quite ready to make room on his handset for an application that allows him to view his bill or see his energy consumption. Now, is this coming? Absolutely. My question is really one of who will have to pay for the application? I don't see him needing one to pay the bill, as the bank or credit card company already does this. But what about energy consumption, being able to lower/raise house temperature remotely if away? This will be a cool one. Yet I believe it will be the thermostat folks that pay to have this application and offer it for free if you purchase their device.
- Control4, Salt Lake City UT - Offers a complete line of home-automation products that allow lighting, audio, video and climate to be controlled. Earlier this year the company raised $17.3 million in a Series F expansion capital round and could be gearing up for an IPO. New investors include Best Buy's venture arm, indicating a possible channel to market for the devices. Smart Grid News Company Profile
- EcoFactor - Redwood City, CA - Has created a system that controls home energy consumption through broadband gateways, came out of stealth mode in early November. A few weeks later it won the prize at the Cleantech Open. Now, it has raised $2.4 million--not an outrageous amount, but better than nothing--from Claremont Creek Ventures and a few others.
EcoFactor offers a SaaS-based residential energy management solution that works with two-way communicating thermostats and a broadband Internet connection to develop a dynamic, customized heating and cooling strategy. In EcoFactor's system, a wireless thermostat sends data to a home DSL or cable box. No smart meter needed.
The service allows thermostats to modulate temperatures for comfort while simultaneously shaving energy demand and customers’ energy bills. After EcoFactor is installed, all homeowners have to do is adjust their thermostats as usual for several days. The software remembers what they like, in relation to seasons, weather conditions and square footage, so that they never have to worry about it again. EcoFactor’s software adjusts home temperature in real time as conditions change.
Oncor is folding EcoFactor’s service into its Take a Load Off Texas program. It will allow the utility to run demand response programs — reducing demand when needed to avoid grid overloads — and allow customers to save as much as 20 to 30 percent on their heating and cooling costs, the company says.
It makes sense that EcoFactor is rolling out first in Texas. Utilities are not regulated in the state, meaning that homeowners are largely free to choose between several competing energy vendors. In order to retain customers, many of these utilities need to expand their portfolios to include extras like energy efficiency tools, and energy monitoring dashboards.
- Home Automation, Inc.(HAI) – New Orleans, LA - Partnering with Sensus to deliver advanced Home Area Network (HAN) devices for demand response, energy display, and comfort control to the utility marketplace. Thousands of devices have already been distributed to five utilities across the country.
- IControl, Palo Alto, CA - Will offer utilities direct consent-based access into customers’ homes and let homeowners monitor and control energy use though a website, in-home touch-screen or “smart phone.” An offering called Connected Life Energy Management, that was released in Novmeber, will be marketed to utilities, cable and telecom broadband providers and homesecurity firms.
iControl was founded in 2004 and focused on home security, home monitoring, energy monitoring and elderly care. Each involves a home network. IControl raised $23 million in a Series C round and investment partners include Intel, home-security giant ADT, cable broadband provider Comcast, networking firm Cisco Systems and GE.
In June 2011 iControl announced the close of over $50 million in Series D funding, bringing total investment in the company to more than $100 million. They said this round of funding will accelerate the deployment of iControl's energy management solution and other broadband home management services, while also positioning the company for international expansion. Investors in this round of funding include Cisco, Comcast Ventures, Intel Capital, Charles River Ventures, the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers iFund, Rogers Communications and Tyco International, the parent company of ADT Security Services.
- Microsoft - Redmond, WA - Launched the beta version of its new Hohm online energy management application in June 2009. Hohm was designed to help U.S. utility customers better understand their electricity and gas usage, receive recommendations, and start saving 5 percent to 10 percent on their bills. The program was expected to eventually be offered worldwide and include water usage, electric cars, homes, home devices and appliances, and commercial buildings.
Hohm’s business model was expected to generate revenue from advertising. The site includes a section for sponsored and general vendors compiled from Microsoft’s Bing search, along with a rating system. Hohm was built on the Windows Azure cloud operating system, a platform for developers of Web applications.
In June 2011, Microsoft announced it is discontinuing the Microsoft Hohm service effective May 31, 2012. They say "The feedback from customers and partners has remained encouraging throughout Microsoft Hohm’s beta period. However, due to the slow overall market adoption of the service, we are instead focusing our efforts on products and solutions more capable of supporting long-standing growth within this evolving market." Microsoft's hardware partner on Hohm was Newfoundland, Canada-based Blue Line Innovations Inc., a maker of energy-monitoring hardware. Blue Line had also partnered with Google on its PowerMeter software. The Blue Line devices worked with both power-monitoring software products to automatically collect and track power usage statistics, instead of having to manually enter data. (Microsoft's Hohm requires users to manually enter data about their home appliances to generate power-saving suggestions.) In July 2011, Blue Line announced a new software partnership with PeoplePower 1.0 to replace the phased-out Microsoft and Google solutions. The new smart phone application offers real time electricity data anywhere, anytime, but many more layers of engagement including – real time pricing, budgeting, gaming, social interaction and remote appliance control Here's some reasons why Microsoft Hohm didn’t take off: 1. Limited initial use. One of the upsides of the Microsoft Hohm system was that any consumer could access it by putting in their zip code and adding in various other bits of information like size of home, etc. The tool then started giving you immediate feedback on how you could be more energy-efficient, based on just this data and using the algorithms Microsoft licensed from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Department of Energy. However this initial step — before you connected it with your utility account or added in a Hohm gadget — didn’t really provide much use. 2. Utility barrier. Like with Google PowerMeter, utilities just didn’t seem to embrace the Microsoft Hohm tool. Microsoft’s large brand could have been seen as threatening by utilities, who want to own the relationship with their customer. Hohm works best when it incorporates customer-usage data fed directly from partner utilities, which, in Microsoft’s case, are currently limited to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Seattle City Light, and Xcel Energy. 3. Early Days It’s still early days for the market for home energy management. 4. Internal Politics - Microsoft blogger M.J. Miller explained in a blog that Microsoft decided to end its Hohm online power-savings software utility because "it didn't fit into the Windows Embedded business model." As technology site Ars Technica noted, "the timing of the announcement suggests that Microsoft only developed Hohm for strategic reasons." 5. Over-ambitious long-term plan. While Hohm had limited use in the initial steps, its end goal was very ambitious. Microsoft was trying to turn Hohm into an entire platform that brought in revenue for the company, and which would turn Hohm into an operating system for everything from electric cars, to homes, to home devices and appliances, to commercial buildings. Adding value for consumers and utilities needed to be worked out before moving on to the next steps. 6. Opt-in, not opt-out. In this early stage of the market, it seems like programs that are opt-out (sent unless the customer says they don’t want it), not opt-in (only sent if the customer wants it), are the ones working. OPower has been successful largely because it connected with utilities early on, and OPower’s detailed energy bills and energy savings recommendations, are delivered to utility customers automatically.
- Our Home Spaces - Novato, CA -Empowers consumers with their energy use information and tools to optimize their energy consumption. Partnering with RF module maker RF Digital and Gainspan under the umbrella of the U-SNAP Alliance to make a kit for homeowners to measure and control energy consumption.
- Silver Spring Networks - Acquired home energy monitoring startup Greenbox Technology in September 2009. It integrated Greenbox's web-based energy management platform into its series of deployments under under its new name, CustomerIQ.
Greenbox created an integrated Internet service that lets a residential customer view, interpret, and act on their everyday utility service consumption and distributed generation behaviors. While other companies have presented residential electricity awareness interfaces, they rarely demonstrate the ability to span non-electric utility services, distributed generation, and remote appliance control from a single unified interface.
Customers can get energy information from CustomerIQ via:
- Web portal - The online portal provides a rich, interactive, and engaging experience through any standard Web browser;
- Email - CustomerIQ can deliver a weekly energy report to customers via e-mail;
- Mobile - The full CustomerIQ portal experience is available on smartphones and other mobile devices;
- Telephone - Utility customer service representatives (CSRs) have access to a specialized CSR portal and can leverage this tool when handling customer calls; and
- In-home devices - Silver Spring also supports a wide range of ZigBee Smart Energy Profile devices that display usage and pricing information relayed via the customer’s smart meter.
insight into and control over the household energy footprint. The in-home wireless network allows appliances and electrical outlets to talk instantly and directly to a home energy monitor or web portal and enables understanding and management of energy consumption. With the consumer portal, Tendril Vantage, the home wireless network can be remotely monitored and controlled down to each individual device. Tendril Networks received $12 million VC funding in 2008 to develop smart grid networking products.
In August 2011, Tendril announced the launch of the Tendril Connect™ Platform Application Developer Program, which will allow select developers to build on the Tendril Connect cloud platform to deliver innovative energy applications to more than 35 utilities and energy service providers, representing a market of 70 million addressable households across three continents. In addition, Tendril announced that it is sponsoring the Cleanweb Hackathon on Sept. 10-11 at pariSoma in San Francisco, and will provide its platform APIs as well as a data set to participants to test drive Tendril Connect. “We’ve opened our APIs and invite application developers to use them to engage with the mass-market energy industry to unleash the next killer app,” said Adrian Tuck, CEO, Tendril.
- Greentechmedia - The Telco Home Energy Invasion More telecom companies are offering energy management systems for their customers' homes. Some home energy startups believe telcos could rival utilities as a market channel, particularly in the early stages of the still-nascent industry
- Connectivity Week 2009 Home Energy Ecosystem Mass deployment of smart meters by utilities is creating new business opportunities for product developers and utilities. Extending the meter into the home will require a new class of products that feature energy awareness.
- Greentechmedia - Will Utilities or Customers Lead in Smart Grid