Like the Oregon Scientific products we mentioned yesterday, home energy information and management products are big this year…really big. A lot of well known companies are getting into the space, betting with the coming smart grid and higher consumer demand for energy efficiency in the home that money can be made. One particular grouping – Direct Energy, Whirlpool, Best Buy, Lennox and OpenPeak – are getting into bed together over the new Home Energy Manager (HEM).
A prototype of HEM will soon be unleashed upon a group of homes in the Houston, Texas area. This product, according to the group, will “demystify energy management, enable consumers to easily control their home energy use and costs, and receive the necessary information to change consumption behavior in a long-term and meaningful way.” The compact, touch-screen communications center installed in these homes will let those behind it see how it is used by typical consumers, including how much money each household using the HEM saves on its utility bills.
HEM, which is being showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show, will work with smart meters and “energy-connected home appliances, such as dishwashers, washers and dryers, water heaters, thermostats and heating and air conditioning units.” Consumers will be able to set pre-determined monthly energy budgets, getting alerts and recommendations when the budget limited is neared. The interface will also act “as an information and entertainment center in the home, providing access to news, weather, health, social networking, music and movie applications.”