Consumer Electronics Show: Debut of the home energy manager

A Home Energy Management system recently debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is billed as being able to demystify energy management for consumers so they can easily control their home energy use and costs, and receive the information needed to change consumption behavior in a long-term and meaningful way.
The HEM is also designed to serve as an information and entertainment center in the home, providing access to news, weather, health, social networking, music and movie applications. In addition, there will be an online application store where consumers can build on the platform by downloading other applications that interest them.
Promoters claim the HEM has the potential to do for home energy management what the iPhone did for communication. According to preliminary data, the HEM prototype could save consumers up to 25% per month on their energy bill.
The HEM is said to leverage the opportunity created by the deployment of smart meters to residential homes, allowing consumers to track and control their energy use and costs on a touch-screen device with a graphic user interface. The solution works on an open platform and integrates with energy-connected home appliances, such as dishwashers, washers and dryers, water heaters, thermostats and heating and air conditioning units.
With the HEM, consumers will be able to manage their energy spending proactively by setting pre-determined budget limits and ensuring that appliances operate within specific parameters. Alerts will warn consumers when they are close to reaching their budget threshold for the month and offer personalized recommendations about how to reduce costs for the rest of the billing period. Consumers will also be able to program the system directly or remotely to avoid energy consumption during peak periods.
There are five companies involved in the pilot program for the HEM. Direct Energy will manage the pilot project and do consumer research with pilot participants. Whirlpool will let this gizmo work with major appliances including, but not limited to, clothes dryers, water heaters, etc. Best Buy is doing installation work in connection with pilot homes in the Houston area with first-line customer service through its Geek Squad operation. Lennox is making wireless connected thermostats and full zone control High Efficiency HVAC in new construction homes that work with it. OpenPeak is doing OpenFrame device, application, and hardware development, including application development for the HEM.

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