EnergyHub gets another jolt with $14.5 million

Brooklyn-based start-up with colorful home energy management interface wants to target consumers directly.

EnergyHub's Mercury Smart Thermostat Platform EnergyHub

Energy management platform developer EnergyHub announced today it has raised $14.5 million in Series B funding from a pool of both previous and new investors.

The Brooklyn-based company makes a home energy management system and smart-thermostat software accessible via the Web, and compatible with mobile devices including the Android and iOS platforms. EnergyHub also offers cloud servicing to complement them. EnergyHub is similar to Tendril in that it plans to offer a suite of home energy management hardware including smart outlets, home displays, smart thermostats, and load control devices for utilities. EnergyHub also offers smart power strips.

EnergyHub supports ZigBee smart meters and legacy AMR meters that have an Itron ERT meter inside. The reason for this is that those are currently the most prevalent meters being used in the U.S. In Texas, in particular, over 6 million smart meters using ZigBee should be installed in homes by the end of 2013, while approximately 25 million Itron ERT meters are in use across the U.S., according to EnergyHub's marketing director Eric Fleming.

But having a smart meter in one's home is not required to use EnergyHub, according to Fleming.

"We have early customers who are using the system independent of meter connectivity and are realizing energy savings by plugging their appliances like window air conditioners, dehumidifiers, TVs, and other devices into our sockets and strips to monitor and control them remotely. The biggest opportunity to save in the home is with the Home Base plus Wireless Thermostat, which helps people easily put the home on an energy-saving schedule that automatically controls heating and cooling," he said.

EnergyHub plans to target its products at consumers, as well as utilities, and you can see the company's strong interest in the consumer market in its product design. Unlike many companies who've made products to look like the standard existing displays homeowners are used to, and might be comfortable with, EnergyHub's interface is colorful and eye-catching.

The company also offers a "set and leave it" option in which consumers go through a series of questions at setup of the system to help determine the best schedule for managing the home, and then don't really have to look at it again.

Of course, people cannot always be relied on to accurately, or honestly, assess their home energy use or daily schedules. To help with that, EnergyHub's system can also be set to self-regulate over time based on how the people living in the home actual consume energy on a daily basis.

Its display system also offers data that may psychologically engage the consumer in saving more energy by showing predicted expense for the next week or next month based on the home's energy consumption patterns and local rates. It also, of course, shows past weekly and monthly costs.

The predictive feature is indicative that home energy system developers really are paying attention to recent studies on consumer behavior with regard to energy use and investment success for utilities as smart tools are introduced. In February, a study conducted in conjunction with the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory showed that consumers made aware of their energy expenses gradually changed behavior over time to save money .

EnergyHub says this latest round of funds will be used to further get its product into the hands of consumers, and fund its Mercury wireless smart-thermostat business.

Investors in this round of funding included previous investors .406 Ventures and Physic Ventures, and new investors Acadia Woods and the New York City Investment Fund.

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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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