Cleantech Market Intelligence
Big Retailers Boost Home Energy Management
Home energy management solutions have struggled to gain traction beyond early adopters and consumers enrolled in a sprinkling of utility programs for demand response. That could be changing as more retailers push connected home devices that have advanced energy controls as a component.
Best Buy, for example, has been selling a handful of smart home products for several years, and for a time it tested dedicated home energy management sections in three of its locations. But now the electronics retailer plans to set up new connected home departments within about 400 of its 1,400 stores. These new sections are expected to show up around Thanksgiving, and will be staffed with blue-shirted experts who will be trained to offer smart home solutions for homeowners. Products on the energy side will include smart thermostats from Nest and Honeywell and smart lighting controls from Philips and Belkin, ranging in price from about $50 to $350.
Out on the Floor
Beyond hardware products, Best Buy will also highlight services for the connected home from a variety of providers, including Comcast, DirecTV, Time Warner, ADT, and others that can tie the hardware to services geared toward automation, security, and energy management. This could be a key to wider adoption of home energy management, since many people have not heard much about energy management services.
Other retailers, such as Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, offer similar products and services for increased home automation, security, and energy management. Office supply giant Staples now offers Connect, which combines a hub with a single mobile app to connect door locks, thermostats, and lighting for homeowners or small business owners.
One of the main inhibitors to growth for home energy management products and services has been a lack of awareness among consumers, as noted in Navigant Research’s Home Energy Management report. This current wave of retailers promoting a variety of solutions to create a more intelligent home should help increase customer knowledge and drive adoption. It will likely take a couple of more years to reach widespread consumer adoption, but this current retail push is a start.