BOULDER, Colo. — Shipments of home energy management (HEM) systems, both standalone and networked, are forecast to rise steadily over the remainder of this decade, and the installed base of households with HEM systems will grow to more than 40 million in 2020, according to a report from Pike Research, a part of Navigant’s Energy Practice.

Until recently the market for HEM systems has been stuck in near neutral, with anemic customer adoption and a crowded field of struggling vendors, stated Pike Research. However, that is starting to change, the firm said, as consumers look for ways to save on their energy costs, utilities push to meet higher energy efficiency targets, and vendors deliver products with popular appeal and viable business models.

“The HEM market is not going to be the land rush some foresaw five years ago,” said Neil Strother, senior research analyst. “But there are increasing signals that the market will fulfill at least a portion of its potential in the coming years. The key factors to accelerating this struggling segment are convincing consumers of the benefits of the technology — slim savings of 3 percent to 5 percent may not be enough for them to change — and lowering the costs of HEM hardware.”

Ultimately, the question surrounding home energy management is: does it actually help consumers reduce their consumption of electricity and therefore save money? The short answer is: yes it can, but recent studies have indicated that the savings, at least for the moment, may be too small to motivate large numbers of consumers. Nonetheless, as the industry moves to more sophisticated types of reporting, including in-home displays and networked HEM systems, the potential cost savings will be more dramatic (10 percent or more), according to the report. This should help spur the market.

Publication date: 10/22/2012