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MerCo Publishing Inc.
525 Route 73 N, Suite 104
Marlton, NJ 08053

Maintained by Lytleworks

Taking back control - with home energy management

By Vincent Ambrose

It came as a shock to many when the U.S. Department of Energy announced that two-thirds of the country is at risk of a power outage this summer, particularly due to heat waves threatening our aging infrastructure. Concerns around the grid have pushed many to turn to alternative sources of energy that can protect them if—and when—the power goes out. 

That’s why home energy management has become a hot topic lately. While solar panels have had their day in the sun over the past few years, homeowners are becoming increasingly interested in pairing solar with other energy efficient technologies, to balance the home’s energy supply. 

But a key question remains for homeowners: exactly how to integrate different power sources into one cohesive system that can lower energy costs and provide energy security. While achieving energy independence to avoid reliance on an unpredictable grid can seem daunting, it’s much simpler than many homeowners are currently aware of.

And as they often rely on installation professionals for information, it’s on our community to fully understand and communicate how energy independence can be achieved.

Let’s take a look. 


Home energy management – an explainer 

At its core, home energy management simply refers to monitoring, controlling and optimizing how energy is generated and consumed within the home. Advanced technologies, including battery storage and software, help gather real-time data on energy usage so homeowners can spot patterns and make adjustments to improve their energy efficiency. 

There are unique attributes for every platform, but one primary feature is that it integrates solar, grid and generator production with battery storage to build a more consistent energy supply for the home. Aside from cost savings as energy usage is optimized to lowering the environmental footprint of the home, home energy management also protects homes in the event of an outage. 

For example, real-time monitoring helps homeowners identify what devices and appliances consume energy, as well as how much they consume. When power outages occur, users can set non-essential loads to switch off and label essential appliances as ‘emergency backup loads’ so they’re provided with power as a priority. 


Homeowners and installers – let's get started! 

It’s important for installers to understand exactly what home energy management entails to ensure a smooth integration process with homeowners. By educating homeowners on its benefits, installers can grab a bigger slice of the pie and help more homes achieve energy independence. In addition to solar panels that generate renewable energy, home energy management systems integrate four sources to build an intelligent platform: 

  • Energy controllers: These devices manage both energy
    generation and consumption, allowing homeowners to manage emergency and non-emergency backup loads to achieve energy independence. 
  • Battery storage: Storing excess solar power for use during peak hours has become more financially attractive as incentives for selling excess solar have decreased. 
  • Automation systems: Homeowners are increasingly turning to apps to remotely monitor and control their systems so they can save on energy costs. 
  • Energy management software: Software can help generate real-time insights based on data from each of these sources, and analytics can help homeowners make decisions to improve overall energy efficiency. 

Pairing all of these sources into one cohesive system gives homeowners all the tools they need to make data-driven decisions that improve their energy experience. This is perhaps most true in areas that are prone to power outages and extreme weather, such as the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas. 

In one example, owners of a mountaintop home in the Ozarks experienced ample sunlight to power their solar panels but desired more grid independence to avoid the impacts of consistent severe storms and outages. Oh, and one other thing—they needed payments for their home energy management system to be equal or lower to previous electric bills. 

By combining storage, energy controllers, automation systems and software, the homeowners were able to achieve off-grid independence in the summer while protecting their home in the event of a blackout. When they produce excess power and the batteries are fully charged, the owners are able to feed power back to the grid, further reducing their energy costs when compared to previous payments. As mentioned above, this process is much simpler than it initially appears—especially by allowing technology to work on our behalf. 

Home energy management is an investment, but federal programs offer as high as a 30 percent tax credit for homeowners to install a home energy storage system. There are additional incentives for energy efficient appliances and financing, and installers need to become familiar with local legislation that puts money back in the homeowners’ pocket to help drive adoption. 

These technologies and real-time data can help homeowners reduce inefficiencies and become more sustainable while also reducing energy costs—and the DOE’s recent announcement also underscores how important home energy management is in protecting against power outages. To drive awareness and urgency for energy independence, it’s on those of us in the renewable energy community to clearly communicate the facts and benefits to homeowners. 

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s help create a greener future for all, together. 


Vincent Ambrose is Chief Commercial Officer of FranklinWH (www.franklinwh.com).


Q3 2023