Smart Appliance Sales Start Slow

The folks over at Pike Research are in the business of cleantech forecasts, and when it comes to smart appliance sales, they have good news and bad news: smart appliance unit sales will be small over the next few years, but will start to pick up starting in 2013.

Smart appliances are those that utilize two-way communications technologies to enable greater energy efficiency–both on the part of you, the homeowner, and your utility–and are considered an important element in realizing the full overall benefits of an energy-efficient smart grid. The new report from  Pike, entitled “Smart Appliances,” predicts that a total of 118 million smart appliances will be sold worldwide during the years from 2010 to 2019, representing an annual market of $26.1 billion by the end of that period.

Whirlpool Smartwasher

image via Whirlpool

The report indicates that the smart appliance market–which includes smart grid-connected refrigerators, clothes washers and dryers, water heaters, dishwashers, and other appliances–is on the cusp of transitioning from the development stage to commercialization and growth.

Senior analyst Bob Gohn notes that while appliance manufacturers have been working with utilities and other technology vendors for a while on smart appliance pilot projects–and have now demonstrated that it is relatively easy to produce a home appliance that achieves utility company’s goals for energy management–the market is still grappling with business model issues, questions of user privacy and control, technology standards development, and consumer acceptance.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.