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An energy monitor for the corner store

Powerhouse Dynamics raises $3 million and switches focus to small commercial customers who can monitor electricity and remotely control HVAC systems to save energy.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read
The eMonitor gets detailed energy data with sensor clams attached to electrical circuits and send that data online through a gateway. Energy Circle

Energy monitoring company Powerhouse Dynamics said it raised funding to expand into the commercial market, an area considered far easier to crack than residential customers.

The Boston-based company today said it raised a $3 million series A from SosVentures to build a sales network for its recently introduced C-series eMonitor. The company had raised about $2.5 million in angel funding, the CEO said earlier this year.

Powerhouse Dynamics said that its relatively light-weight energy monitoring system will give small retailers, restaurants, and the like a way to cut about 20 percent of their electricity use with a centralized monitoring and control system. People can get real-time and historical electricity usage and remotely control devices, such as an air conditioner or heating, from a PC or smart phone.

A screen shot from the commercial application, showing the energy dashboard. PowerHouse Dynamics

The residential version of the eMonitor is one of a handful of whole-house energy monitoring devices sold directly consumers. But with a retail price near $700, it's aimed at people with hefty electricity bills who want to find ways to eliminate wasted energy. Microsoft, Google, and Cisco all exited the residential home energy monitoring business, a reflection of how it's difficult to make money on products geared at consumer energy savings.

The get detailed information on where power is being used, the eMonitor has sensor clamps which attach onto circuits on an electrical circuit box. The information is collected by a gateway device, which uses a home network and broadband to push the information to the Web. A user can see detailed reports on how energy is used, giving some insight into how reduce use.

The c-Series commercial product gives small business owners remote control of HVAC systems through networked thermostats and alerts on when systems can be breaking down. The company is targeting small businesses with less than 20,000 square feet of space, which can't justify more expensive systems.

One product which stands to shake up the market is the Learning Thermostat from Nest Labs, which doesn't require an elaborate set up and allows people to control heating and cooling remotely.