Honeywell and Opower unveil new home energy management platform


By: SGN Staff


The Energy Management Platform introduced by Honeywell and Opower not only provides homeowners with easy-to-use tools to reduce their energy consumption, but also integrates demand response and energy efficiency programs for utilities which have typically been separate programs, the two companies said. The platform is now undergoing testing in a trial to evaluate customer acceptance.


It is, they said, the first technology to give utilities auditable peak load and permanent load reduction. A recent survey of more than half of the DR programs in the country found the average participation rate among residential customers is now 13%. Honeywell and OPower predict the new platform will boost that rate to at least 20% because of user-friendly elements like mobile access to energy information and control.


The report noted that the participation increase would result in an additional 220 megawatts of peak shed capacity for those utilities surveyed alone, a figure that represents the production of more than four gas-fired peaker plants.


The Energy Management Platform incorporates Honeywell's Wi-Fi thermostat and Akuacom's (a Honeywell company) utility management software with Opower's interactive, cloud-based app to give homeowners a way to see and adjust electricity use through a smart phone or the Web. It also provides coaching and tips to boost efficiency and long-term savings.


The platform isn't ready for release just yet. It is undergoing testing in a trial with Pacific Gas & Electric. Honeywell and Opower are recruiting participants and plan to install more than 500 free thermostats to confirm the energy savings in an effort to get a feel for how customers feel about using the technology. The trial is expected to end in early 2014.