2021 will certainly be a year of big change, and with a new administration and climate change a top priority, how we think about energy use and consume energy in our homes will play an important role.

Sense’s CEO Mike Phillips sees these six major trends happening in-home energy in 2021 around smart homes, solar adoption, resilience and backup power, carbon reduction, electrification, and carbon intensity.

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  1. 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 with 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.
  1. There will be continued momentum toward 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 FERC’s July 2020 decision on net metering will keep those policies in place for consumers in solar-friendly states.
  1. As we saw with the wildfires in CA and rolling blackouts, and 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 back-up 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.
  1. Already, many states and utilities have 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.
  1. 2021 will see a commitment to electrifying everything. 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 seriously consider electrifying everything in their home and 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.
  1. People will begin to think more carefully about the carbon intensity of their energy use depending on the time of day.  As more utilities transition to 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 in 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
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