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Sense CEO predicts six 2021 home energy trends

Michael Phillips, the CEO of Sense, a technology company that makes a home energy monitor (pictured above) to track efficiency, cost, and reliability, told us about his predictions for six 2021 home energy trends.

Michael Phillips, CEO, Sense

Michael Phillips, CEO of Sense, explained his choices to Electrek:

In 2021, home energy will be transformed by decisive action on climate change at the federal, state, and utility level, combined with significant breakthroughs in smart home technology.

For example, global energy leaders like Schneider Electric and Landis+Gyr are building energy intelligence into homes and utility infrastructure. These trends will enable consumers to control energy use in their homes and help them adopt clean energy and reduce their carbon impact.

Here are Phillips’ six predictions:

Smart homes. 2021 will be the year smart homes have energy intelligence built into them that will be key in the fight against climate change. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Zigbee are collaborating on interoperability standards that connect smart devices. The next step is energy awareness. Homes will shift from point solutions like smart LED bulbs and smart thermostats to become smarter in ways that matter from an energy perspective. That means the ability to track how much electricity the entire home is using and give the homeowner feedback about how to reduce energy waste and live more responsibly.

Solar adoption. With prices for solar dropping and solar mandates from states like California, there will be a strong incentive for homeowners to go solar. Over the next year or so, we expect to see homeowners embrace solar as part of a total solution for clean energy homes, encompassing battery storage, energy efficiency upgrades, and electric vehicles. Utilities will continue to roll out programs that support solar adoptions, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s July 2020 decision on net metering will keep those policies in place for consumers in solar-friendly states. 

Resilience and backup power. As we saw with the wildfires in California and rolling blackouts, as well as concerns from homeowners about power surges with more people working from home, there will be more pressure on utilities to make the grid more resilient. Consumers may add backup generators to ride out blackouts or battery backup for solar systems in order to supply electricity during peak demands. Utilities will be expected to do a better job anticipating peak demand and avoiding rolling blackouts. 

Carbon reduction. Many states and utilities have already stepped up with aggressive carbon reduction mandates tied to climate change goals, and this will continue in 2021, accelerated by leadership from the Biden administration. Utilities will have a really strong interest to reach their carbon reduction goals. There are even utility companies that tie compensation for executives to decarbonization. This commitment from utilities will translate to programs and rebates for consumers.

Electrification. Rewiring America has taken a deep dive into how electrifying the country can create millions of good-paying jobs, save households thousands of dollars per year, and cut our energy use in half. The organization reports, “Nearly 40% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from what’s in our households and garages. If we electrify everything in our houses, we go a long way to confronting climate change.” This will be the year when people realize burning things in your house is an antiquated way to use energy. From a transition to heat pumps for heating and cooling to the adoption of EVs, going electric will gain serious traction this year.

Carbon intensity. People will begin to think more carefully about the carbon intensity of their home energy use depending on the time of day. As more utilities transition to time of use (TOU) rates, consumers will look to smart home energy systems for insights that will guide them to shift the time of day when they run their dishwasher, do their laundry, or charge their EV because those changes will make a real difference to their utility bills. As this information is provided in real-time by dynamic energy monitoring systems, consumers can actively reduce the carbon footprints of their homes without compromising their comfort and take a bigger role in combating climate change.

Photos: Sense

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.