The idea of boxes Energy is not new: fifteen years ago, the desire to rely on residential gateways and the first home automation offerings already reflected the hopes placed in technology to improve energy efficiency in residential housing and, at that time, rather in the villas.
From the start, the stakes were to acquire a detailed knowledge of the different uses of the energy in the housing to be able to act: it was thus to capture the consumption, at least by large applications or major appliances.
Then, we had to acquire the actual ability to act on various energy consuming items.
The first players that have been investigating this market, were electric or automation product manufacturers: their will to automate the housing to achieve energy savings and to rely on a system of sensors, actuators and controllers were in line with their core business .
Today, the commercial success of this type of offer is still not at the rendezvous. Why consumers do not have any interest in these products?
Except the technophiles, I believe that all consumers assess their economic interest to invest in such solutions, mostly implicitly, almost unconsciously. For them, always implicitly, a solution in the housing must be depreciated in 5-7 years by the energy savings generated. This observation holds true in all cases: in case of support programs or not, if the consumer is subsidized by the electrical supplier or not.
A quick computation shows that these conditions of profitability that are implicitly acceptable by households are (usually!) not achieved :
– If the heating and domestic hot water are not of electrical origin
– If 70 % of consumption is not concentrated in 3 to 4 points (electric device, plug ,feeder) that are easily controllable
– If the accommodation is less than 100m2
This leaves a very small market to energy boxes: the overall market is today largely dominated by software solutions and selective applications, focusing on the potential of the most important energy gains.
Indirectly, consumers and the market oriented offers to reduce energy consumption in homes to more economical and pragmatic solutions. For their part, traditional technologies have not been strong enough to impose themselves : fortunately!