Since heating and cooling account for the bulk of energy used in a home, weather is the largest variable to home energy demand. Let’s face it, there’s a little bit of Goldilocks in all of us and we like our home temperature just right. With a 90 percent chance of snow and a high of 12 degrees, it’s a pretty safe prediction that people will be turning on their heat, creating a high energy demand. Just as we prepare for the 30 percent chance of rain with an umbrella, utility companies must also prepare for the peak levels of energy demand.
To help do just that, Earth Networks and EnergyHub have put their brains together to create E5, a home demand response and energy efficiency program to manage these peak energy needs. Named for ease, energy, efficiency, environment and Earth, E5 uses real-time, local weather information from Earth Networks’ 8,000 weather stations to create demand response programs that help the grid manage energy use during extreme weather.
Realizing that the idea of handing over control to your thermostat is a little scary, E5 was designed to let you keep some control. Rather than the utility company providing and installing home thermostats, consumers who want to join choose their own program-compatible, Internet-enabled thermostat.
Once installed, the program analyzes local weather data, indoor air temperature and energy usage, and optimizes energy use with methods like preheating or precooling to prepare for whatever weather is coming. Unlike other systems that don’t take actual indoor temperature or comfort into account, E5 claims to give the consumer control to adjust settings from anywhere through its website or mobile app.
The program also can generate a home energy audit, ranking the house’s efficiency using local temperature, wind, and solar changes and creates a customized list of steps to save energy and money.