The idea behind an energy dashboard for your house is that by displaying your home’s energy consumption you will change your behavior to save energy. But what if your home could change your behavior for you? Agilewaves, which makes the so-called Resource Monitor, has integrated its info dash with an active control system from Crestron, so the home can now dim lights, turn heating and cooling off and adjust smart appliances. “For the first time we’re going to truly automate a smart home, which connects monitoring with actions and automated controls — which gets humans out of the loop,” CEO Peter Sharer says.
There are many startups working on home energy dashboards (check out our list of 5 Energy Monitoring Startups to Help You Cut Home Power). While they all have slick interfaces for the end user, it will be partnerships with other stakeholders in the smart-home business that start to add real value. Working with utilities, contractors and system integrators will provide opportunities for all parties to provide services to reduce energy consumption, like demand response and smart charging.
Integrating a monitoring system with active controls has opened up Agilewaves’ business for potential customers, Sharer says. “As opposed to thinking what we sell is just another widget, they are thinking of this as an annuity,” Sharer explains. “Where we’re finding a lot of interest is the contractors who are being asked by the homeowners what they can do to be more energy efficient.”
Utilities are also potentially strong partners for energy dashboard startups. “The utilities are in the business is selling energy, metering it and sending bills,” Sharer explains. “What they aren’t in the business of doing is recording all that data, organizing it and making it comprehensible to the customer.”
Automating the management is important as energy is being consumed by an increasing variety of devices. “This is the first year consumer electronics has overtaken [heating and cooling] and large appliances,” Sharer says. It might be relatively easy for a human user to turn the thermostat down but much harder to unplug all energy-sucking wall-plugs. Vampiric or phantom loads, the energy used by your gizmos when you’re not using your gizmos, can account for 75 percent of their total energy use, Sharer says.
Agilewaves says it is installing about one system a month. All systems are custom-designed and cost around $7,500. The six-person, Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup is actively looking to raise a series A round of funding.