For those wanting a one-stop shop for home energy management products, add consumer electronics retailer Best Buy to the list. The company has announced plans to start selling home energy management products in stores later this year that introduce consumers to emerging technologies that can improve energy efficiency.
According to Kris Bowring, senior director and platform head for home energy at Best Buy, three stores will lunch a trial, providing dedicated areas to demonstrate a number of home energy technologies. The announcement was made September 13 at the GridWeek conference in Washington D.C.
Featured products will range from simple whole-house energy monitors to a combination of a home security service and smart thermostats. The products are geared at helping people improve home efficiency and get remote control to their homes from a Web portal or smart phone.
“This technology is coming. It’s here. The energy monitoring and management–the understanding and capabilities are there. In fact, some of the systems deliver more information than the utilities could ever dream of,” said Bowring.
Trial stores will be located in San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.
Best Buy is targeting providing home energy products to more than the small group of energy conscious people today seen as early technology adopters. In research leading to the launch of this program, Bowring said consumers may want to be energy efficient but don’t understand how their energy usage compares to others, whether their homes were operating efficiently, or what tools to use for measurement.
According to Martin LaMonica from Green Tech, Best Buy research shows many people want to remotely control their homes so they can adjust thermostats, lights, and appliances. One product expected to be part of the trial is the Nucleus energy management system from General Electric. It collects energy usage information and allows consumers control thermostats and connected appliances.
Smart outlets that measure the power demands of various appliances will also be featured. These outlets can be used to set schedules for lights or electronics.
Bowring said that Best Buy intends to have a utility presence in stores to give consumers specific advice for making energy management products work appropriately.