PowerHouse Dynamics: Plug-Level Home Energy Management

At this point, the number of creative ways that companies have developed to help home owners monitor and manage their energy consumption, seems to far surpass the volume of consumer interest. That’s OK, though, because the home energy management market is so new, and it’s still unclear which services and technologies will be the most successful. Here’s another new startup which had some funding news this morning: PowerHouse Dynamics, a year-old Newton, Mass.-based company, which has built the energy management tool “eMonitor.”

PowerHouseDynamics

According to VentureWire, which chatted with the CEO Martin Flusberg at the GreenBuild conference this week, the company is in the process of raising $2 million from undisclosed investors. PowerHouse Chairman and CMO Dan Kaplan confirmed the planned funding with us this morning, and according to a regulatory filing, the company has already raised $225,000 out of a planned $750,000 round.

eMonitor seems to be focusing on the higher end of the home energy market. Kaplan told us that the product, which includes a gateway, monitors attached to circuits, and an smart outlet product, will cost $600, in addition to a $12-per-month subscription. While that’s not as high as some of the expensive luxury home automation systems, it’s clearly above a $100 or $200 dashboard. PowerHouse isn’t focused on utilities (Kaplan called the utility an enabler rather than a customer) but is working with distribution channels like solar installers.

There’s also two differences between the eMonitor and some of the other energy management tools out there (here’s 10 players). The company says the eMonitor enables the home owner to measure each appliance or outlet (more information) and the eMonitor also works with or without smart meters in place. Those aren’t huge differentiators — the Energy Detective and software like Microsoft’s Hohm also work without smart meters, and Tendril makes smart plugs to monitor each plug load. But the product could find a market with home owners that want more detailed analysis per plug.

The company says the eMonitor takes “under an hour” to install — a sophisticated DIY-er could do it, but most will need an electrician, says Kaplan — and is available now, but in limited supply. Kaplan tells us that the product will be more widely available next year. Co-founder Flusberg was previously the co-founder and president of Nexus Energy Software, an energy and carbon analysis tool, which sold to ESCO Technologies in 2005. And co-founder Dan Kaplan, who’s also chairman and chief marketing officer, was a co-founder of LowerMyBills.com, now owned by Experian.

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