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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Andreas Grabner, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Cloud Best Practices Network

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WeatherBug Pilot Delivers 4% Home Energy Savings for Homeowners in CenterPoint Energy’s Service Territory

Utilities across the country have a new option for customers wanting to save money and reduce their energy use this summer without changing their behavior or adjusting the comfort settings on their thermostats, thanks to WeatherBug® Home, a residential energy efficiency program taking a smarter approach to saving electricity.

New results from a pilot program within the CenterPoint Energy service territory in Texas last summer show that WeatherBug Home helped homeowners lower monthly energy bills by 5% over the test group, with 4% directly attributable to thermostat optimization. The evaluation demonstrates the untapped energy efficiency power of connected thermostats and the potential for delivering energy efficiency by leveraging smart meter data.

Based on a third-party evaluation conducted by Pionergy Consulting, WeatherBug Home demonstrated the following:

  • Real Savings: Homeowners reduced their electricity use by an average of 4% using WeatherBug Home. Homeowners saved money – estimated at $100 annually - while keeping cool and maintaining control of their thermostats.
  • Maintained Comfort: Unlike other thermostat-based energy efficiency programs, WeatherBug Home achieves energy efficiency while placing occupant comfort first. Instead of raising the homeowner’s thermostat setpoints, WeatherBug Home changes the timing of setpoints based on actual real-time weather conditions and a derived thermodynamic model of the house. This combination makes it possible for WeatherBug Home to use the exact heating or cooling required to hit homeowners’ setpoints using real-time weather conditions and forecasts.
  • Lower Peak Load: In Texas, home HVAC use is the single-largest contributor to summer peak load and places the biggest strain on the power grid. WeatherBug Home lowers peak load for the utility while delivering energy efficiency to the customer.

How it Works: With WeatherBug Home, homeowners set their own thermostat setpoints. WeatherBug Home then harnesses big data to intelligently and automatically optimize heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) – the source of about 50% of home energy use – based on the weather to reduce energy consumption while maintaining the homeowner’s comfort settings. In fact, WeatherBug Home has been shown to hit homeowner’s desired temperature settings within 5 minutes every day.

WeatherBug Home uses real-time, high-resolution local data from the WeatherBug network using key weather variables – including solar insolence, wind speed and direction, humidity, and temperature – that are critical to accurately model homes within energy management and demand response programs. Combined with smart meter interval data and the power of connected, two-way thermostats, WeatherBug Home lets homeowners optimize energy use, maintain comfort and save money.

“With electricity demand on the rise, CenterPoint Energy constantly seeks new and innovative ways to show homeowners how they can be more energy efficient without sacrificing comfort,” says Jarrett Simon, Director of Energy Efficiency, CenterPoint Energy. “Results from the WeatherBug Home pilot provide validation of the technology to deliver meaningful energy efficiency in an automated and easy manner, so we are excited to continue this pilot to benefit even more homeowners and better achieve our energy efficiency goals.”

Learn more about WeatherBug Home and watch the video: http://earthnetworks.com/Products/WeatherBugHome.

To request a copy of the full 43-page report on the pilot program, email [email protected].

A patent-pending approach based on technology developed by Earth Networks in conjunction with researchers at the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, WeatherBug Home is built on real-time proprietary data from WeatherBug-Earth Networks. The product has been validated through in-market pilots and is being taken to market by Earth Networks, the parent company of the WeatherBug brand of consumer weather apps and products.

About Earth Networks - WeatherBug

For 20 years, we have been Taking the Pulse of the Planet® using the world’s largest weather and climate networks. Our sensors across the planet keep consumers, businesses, and governments informed, updated, and alerted. Our popular WeatherBug® apps and website provide neighborhood-level weather, superior forecasts and advanced severe weather alerts to more than 30 million people monthly. Enterprises such as schools, airports, professional sports teams, utilities and government agencies rely on our Early Warning Solutions to safeguard lives, prepare for weather events, and optimize operations. Know Before™. Learn more at www.earthnetworks.com.

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