Weather Intelligence Delivers Energy Efficiency and Demand Response: Earth Networks Unveils Results of e5 Home Program

  • Oct 02, 2012

oct2 12Results from Houston Area Demonstrate 2X the Energy Savings and 1.2 kW Peak-Load Shift While Maintaining Occupant Comfort

Germantown, MD and GRIDWEEK at Booth #106 in Washington, DC – October 2 –  Earth Networks, the owner of WeatherBug® and operator of the largest weather, lightning and climate observation networks, announces results from its e5SM home energy efficiency and demand response program that debuted this spring in more than 1,000 homes in the Houston area in partnership with CenterPoint Energy and technology partners EnergyHub and Radio Thermostat. e5 combines real-time neighborhood-level weather conditions, a thermostat management platform, the latest Internet-connected thermostats and smart meter data to help homeowners conserve energy, stay comfortable and save on their electric bills –all while helping utilities shift grid load during peak times.

Earth Networks will discuss the results of the e5 program at GridWeek in Washington, D.C. during a press event at 10:30 am in Room 203B on Tuesday, October 2. At 3:30 pm on Tuesday, e5 program director Dave Oberholzer is participating in the panel discussion “Big Data & Analytics – Extracting Value out of Data” in Room 202B. Representatives will also be available at Booth #106. The results report is available upon request by emailing

Consumer choice, comfort and control distinguish the e5 program. While traditional residential demand response programs are often met with resistance because consumers lose control of their thermostats, e5 enables homeowners to remain in charge of their thermostat settings. The e5 program also takes the burden off utilities to install and troubleshoot home thermostats, because consumers choose, purchase, and set up their own units. Importantly, e5 maintains each customer’s desired comfort level while optimizing energy by pre-cooling or pre-heating the home in response to forecasted weather and demand-response events.  Earth Networks’ real-time, hyper-local data enables e5 to develop models that determine the optimum thermostat schedule for each home based on its unique thermodynamic properties.

Most residential demand response solutions lack information on either occupant comfort (as with A/C cycling approaches) or demand-response capacity (as with temperature offset approaches).  e5’s demand-response solution provides accurate insight and forecasts into total capacity up to 12 to 16 hours ahead of time. Based on a third-party analysis of a representative sample of thermostats in the Houston area during three separate demand-response events this summer, the e5 program demonstrated the following results:
• Overall, the e5 program resulted in an average 2X energy savings; or 13.8% savings compared to 6% savings for the average 2°F setback used by pilot homes prior to the pilot.
• On average, e5 removed an average of 1.20 kW of load for the duration of the peak hour demand-response event when activated within an hour’s notice of the demand response event. This is essentially equivalent to running an air conditioner 75% less on the hottest days of the year.
• In a subset of efficient homes, enough energy was stored via pre-cooling that the air conditioner did not need to turn on at all. This occurred in the 24% of thermostats that shifted between 2.0 kW and 6.33 kW. In all cases, efficiency was achieved without raising the indoor air temperature more than 2°F above the homeowners’ thermostat set point.
• e5 accurately predicts the thermal response of each house in the program. For example, during a demand response event an efficient home reduced 2.87 kW of load using e5 while only experiencing a 1.5 °F increase in home temperature. A less efficient home shifted an average load of 1.89 kW with a maximum temperature increase of 2 degrees. In contrast, with traditional 50% A/C cycling, the efficient home would realize a load reduction of only .20 kW, while the less efficient home would shift only 1.10 kW and experience an increase in home temperature of at least 4°F.
• The e5 program demonstrated impressive results when compared to traditional thermostat-based demand response programs. In fact, the e5 program kept homes, on average, within 1.5 °F of the users’ comfort settings during demand-response events.

How e5 Works:  Using neighborhood-level weather data and a patent-pending, customer-specific thermodynamic model depicting how a home heats and cools, e5 anticipates the peak temperature during the day and determines when to pre-cool the home to save energy while maintaining a homeowner’s set points. As a result of this custom approach, homeowners can set significant setbacks and know that their homes will return to their programmed comfort zone. The e5 program also calculates how far in advance of an upcoming setback the air conditioner can be turned off without the home’s temperature rising more than one degree from the current set point to further increase efficiency.

“The e5 program provides flexibility and an innovative approach to a longstanding challenge — how to decrease the demand for electricity during times of peak usage, while also providing residents with control over their own comfort,” says Jarrett Simon, Director of Energy Efficiency, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. “By piloting e5, we wanted to give customers in our service territory the opportunity to conserve energy, save money, and help the environment. The pilot project appears to be a new and innovative way for optimizing grid load and improving performance during periods of peak demand.”

Earth Networks: Powering WeatherBug & WeatherBug Home

For 20 years, we have been Taking the Pulse of the Planet® using the world’s largest weather, lightning and greenhouse gas monitoring networks. Our sensors across the planet keep consumers, businesses, and governments informed, updated and alerted. Our popular WeatherBug® brand provides neighborhood-level weather, superior forecasts and advanced severe weather alerts to millions. Our WeatherBug Home offering taps big weather and connected home data for improved energy efficiency and comfort. 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®.