The question comes up frequently: Will consumers actually pay for home energy management technologies and services that help them save energy?
In a report released by research firm Parks Associates, 15 percent to 20 percent of U.S. consumers are very willing to pay a $5 to $10 in monthly subscription fees for services promising 10 percent savings on their energy bills.
That should be good news for makers and sellers of energy management systems that include energy monitoring devices, which studies show can save 5 percent to 15 percent in electricity costs just by providing immediate feedback on a home’s energy use—and more if tied to a home control system that can turn off or power down devices automatically.
Smart Phone and Security Users Will Be Adopters
The Parks report, Residential Energy Management: Consumer Classifications and Mindset finds smartphone owners and those with do-it-yourself security cameras are among those consumers much more likely to sign up for energy management services or purchase energy-saving products. Nearly 30 percent of consumers subscribing to professionally monitored security services indicated that they are very willing to pay for these solutions.
“With household electricity bills increasing by over 10 percent, consumer interest in energy savings is high, and utilities, control system manufacturers, and service providers are looking to leverage that demand,” said Bill Ablondi, director, home systems research, Parks Associates. “Current solutions with the best chance for success cross platforms and combine multiple functions. For example, ADT is including an iPhone app with its home surveillance systems, which can be used to adjust lighting and thermostats as well as check security settings.”
ADT is rolling out connectivity solutions including security cameras and remote home management, and is planning on introducing energy management on its Pulse platform. Comcast and Verizon are two more large service providers looking to offer similar services to the mass market.
Who, What and Why
Parks Associates says that product ownership and service subscriptions are much better predictors than demographic attributes and home ownership regarding who is likely to adopt energy management systems and services.
“The next step in our research is to probe factors motivating consumers to adopt energy management systems and services,” Ablondi said. “Our next research project, Residential Energy Management: Consumer Motives, Actions, and Intentions, in 4Q 2010 will identify benefits relevant to different segments of the consumer market as well as who they trust to provide these solutions and how best to deliver the message to them.”
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates