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Environment / Internet

EnergyHub: Gowanus efficiency software firm works in Calif., Texas

By providing the software that makes many thermostats internet ready, EnergyHub is able to approach consumers about earning credits on their bills by letting utilities use their thermostats to manage peak demand.

From StackOverflow

EnergyHub was founded in 2007, perhaps the initial height of the idea of smart thermostats that learn habits and operate more efficiently.

At first, the company designed and sold devices for the home, but has since pivoted to working entirely as a software company in a B2B capacity. As Matt Johnson, Director of Business Development, explained to Technical.ly Brooklyn, it didn’t take long before much larger companies started building thermostats that interfaced with home wireless networks.

“We realized it was going to be difficult for us to compete in making hardware, and our value was really on the software side,” he said. “That was a value add for those companies that didn’t know software and consumer interfaces.”

Now, EnergyHub creates and manages much of the software that runs wireless home thermostats, as well as the mobile apps that allow customers to adjust their home temperature on the go.

Johnson said that another innovation came when EnergyHub began to reach out to consumers on behalf of utilities. Many electrical utilities face a problem of peak demand management, especially in the summer months when air conditioners are on.

To solve that problem, utilities began offering consumers internet-capable wireless thermostats that allowed the homes to get bill credits for letting the utility turn down their system — or even shut it off — at times when it needed capacity. This was an expensive process, requiring utilities to buy the devices, market them and sometimes even install them. It’s an interesting addition to the concept of the Internet of Things.

While EnergyHub helps many utilities manage peak demand, it goes straight to consumers, through its software, on behalf of four utilities now: two in Texas and two in California. In those areas, EnergyHub goes to customers that already have a thermostat and web interface that runs on EnergyHub software and asks them if they would like to join a program that will pay them a little for letting the utility manage their thermostat at times. If customers agree, their thermostat gets linked into the program, which makes both the company and the consumer a little money.

EnergyHub rolled out its most recent program of this kind with Southern California Edison this July.

EnergyHub was acquired by Alarm.com in May 2013. Johnson said that joining a home security company makes it an exciting time.

“There’s a lot of interest in increasing control over home use, automation and services to consumers,” he said. “At the same time, utilities are interested in taking advantage of all these devices in the home to manage energy consumption. We are kind of at the intersection of those big markets.”

Companies: EnergyHub
Series: Brooklyn
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