Tapping weather data for better demand response

Energy software company EnergyHub and weather and sensor network company Earth Networks have teamed up to offer a smart thermostat and demand response program for utilities and consumers. Called e5, the service will use weather data from Earth Networks’ thousands of nation wide weather stations (Earth Networks is the company behind the Weather Bug app) and will combine that data with Energy Hub’s smart thermostat management software. The combo is supposed to enable utilities to more effectively turn down home thermostats when necessary and will help consumers use their heating and cooling more efficiently, saving them money.
Demand response is when the customers of utilities agree to let their energy-consuming devices — like thermostats, pool pumps and smart appliances — to be turned down during peak events (like the hot summer months), in return for financial compensation or other benefits. Residential demand response projects aren’t all that common these days, but the numbers of customers enrolled in these programs are growing. Energy Hub says it already has 100,000 smart thermostats under management and the company plans to add another 100,000 this year.
The e5 service will launch in Texas this summer and use a WiFi-connected thermostat from 3M. (s mmm) The consumer is the one who enrolls in the program and installs the thermostat, which can be obtained at retailers or online. The consumer can benefit through energy savings, and the utility can benefit from better demand response. EcoFactor has developed a similar service using weather data, smart thermostats and real-time demand response.
Earth Networks was formerly called AWS Convergence Technologies, and the firm refocused last year to start working on building a network of greenhouse gas emissions monitoring stations throughout the U.S. Those stations will use gas-detecting sensor boxes from Picarro, a startup in Santa Clara, Calif. However, clearly, Earth Networks’ weather data is still important to its business.