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According to a recent study by Ovum, a global business and technology research and analysis firm, energy management and monitoring is expected to grow to a $1.8 billion dollar consumer market by 2015 with more than an estimated 200 million smart meters — used to allow many energy monitoring systems to be functional — being installed over the next decade.
Currently, large technology companies — including Microsoft, Google, Intel, AT&T and Apple — have flooded the market with smart meters, which has resulted in fairly educated consumers.
This also presents a market that builders and electronic systems contractors (ESCs) can tap into, enabling them to generate a new source of revenue as well as remain relevant to their clients.
“The purpose of an energy monitoring system is much like that of the dashboard on a Toyota Prius. This smart car alerts the driver of their gas consumption on a real time basis,” said Gordon van Zuiden, ESC, of CyberManor bases in Los Gatos, Calif. “Home energy monitors mirror this ability by detailing the energy consumption of a home at any given time. It can also give consumers feedback immediately about the cost of usage.”
According to van Zuiden, when smart meters are used in conjunction with a home control system, consumers can determine which appliances and lights they can turn off to lower their consumption and save money. The more systems they can into the system — for example, pool pumps, refrigerators, lighting control and HVAC — the better they can understand and alter their home’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.
“Consumers are constantly inundated with information about energy savings, but it is hard to quantify that information without knowing where the energy is being spent in a home,” added custom builder John Wesley Miller, of the John Wesley Miller Companies in Tucson, Ariz. “With an energy monitor, consumers are given real-time feedback and are able to make necessary changes based on that information.”
Builders and ESCs can enter the market at a variety of price points, beginning with low-cost devices that average $25 and mount on electrical panels and provide usage displays via an adapter on any browser. Through lode profiling, these simple devices can determine the energy use of singular appliances such as a refrigerator or air conditioner.
On the higher end, total home automation systems encompassing lighting control to HVAC systems can cost thousands of dollars to install, but they can help home owners achieve the highest amount of energy savings and provide detailed dashboard readouts on energy consumption attributed by individual appliances and in specific areas in the home.
Wireless energy management and monitoring solutions and products also are available for retrofitting existing homes — and enabling remodelers, ESCs and builders to tap into an even larger market.
To help drive consumers to adopt energy management and monitoring technology, the Obama Administration has initiated a multi-billion dollar smart-grid grant program that will enable about one million consumers to get in-home displays from utility companies seeking to lower their consumers' energy consumption.
As consumer awareness continues to grow, builders, remodelers and ESCs should educate themselves about the latest technology and products available so they can better tap into this market.
CEDIA, the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association and a founding sponsor of the Home Technology Alliance, is working to standardize the design and installation of energy monitoring and energy management systems.
Through its Sustainable Lifestyles Action Team, CEDIA is also identifying current and emerging business opportunities while reducing the environmental impact of residential electronics.
Information About Home Technology Available From HTA
The Home Technology Alliance (HTA) is a partnership between NAHB and CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association, that was formed to position the housing industry to effectively meet the growing home buyer demand for home technology and provide maximum return on investment in the new home building and remodeling process.
For more information, visit www.nahb.org/HTA.
CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association, is a founding sponsor in the Home Technology Alliance and an international trade association of companies that specialize in designing and installing electronic systems for the home.
CEDIA members are established and insured businesses with bona fide qualifications and experience in this field. CEDIA serves as a source for electronic systems contractors (ESCs).