Millions of homes to acquire energy competence displays (Dec. 15, 2009) — The days of learning regarding your electricity consumption once a month are the on the decline. Motivated by consumer interest in energy and usefulness smart-grid programs, home energy information displays are balanced to come into people’s kitchens and living rooms in large numbers over the next few years, according to a report.

Pike-ResearchThe research company predicts there will be 28.1 million users of energy displays by 2015. About half of the users will have real devices, while over 11 million will access that information from Web-based dashboards and 2.6 million from mobile phones, according to Pike Research.

The intention of these displays is to direct consumers in lowering their energy consumption. Basically making people conscious of their electricity use will force people to make performance changes to cut their utility bills and environmental footprint. Studies have found that a mixture of more detailed information and utility-run incentive programs can assist consumers cut off between 5 percent and 15 percent off their bills.

For example, a display might demonstrate that electricity usage is more than normal at a given moment and send somebody to turn off idle electronics. Getting historical data and information on different appliance usage, too, can direct people to make adjustments. More advanced home energy management systems will let a person to program heating and cooling and to contribute in utility efficiency programs to cut energy use throughout peak times.

Still, since many of these products are still not on the market, it’s not clear how successful they will be at improving home energy effectiveness and whether consumers will carry on to use them on a regular basis.

There are by now a number of home energy monitoring devices which can cost anyplace from less than $100 to a few hundred dollars. But the field is getting packed with a number of providers from very diverse fields. The smart-grid stimulus program is anticipated to result in over 1 million homes getting these displays for free of charge from utilities.

Both Microsoft and Google present Web dashboards, even though their functions differ. There are also dozens of companies, including a number of start-ups, which make devices or software to run on displays.

In many cases, information is gathered through a smart meter, which has a two-way communications link with the utility. But in many smart-grid programs, utilities are not making comprehensive energy usage available to consumers in real time, in part because of security concerns, says smart-grid executives.

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