E Source Names Biggest Game-Changing Technologies and Trends of 2014

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E Source has been evaluating energy-efficiency technologies and studying trends in the efficiency technology industry for more than 25 years. For the third year in a row, the company has published a list of the most-compelling technologies and trends, many of which are likely to continue to make news in 2015 and beyond.

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Overall, this was a remarkable year for efficiency technologies. We saw tremendous innovation on both the gas and electric side and across all sectors.

Arguably, the development over the past 12 months with the greatest potential impact is the emergence of viable LED tubular replacements for linear T8 fluorescents. Previously, these LED products suffered from a host of problems, ranging from low efficacies to exorbitant prices.

“For LED tubular technology, 2014 was a watershed year. In the past, we strongly cautioned utilities against incorporating this technology into their programs, but recent tests by the US Department of Energy have demonstrated very strong performance for some products,” says Spencer Sator, senior manager of the E Source Technology Assessment Service. “There are still a lot of underperforming products out there, but this is a huge milestone for the lighting industry. Tubular fluorescents consume nearly 100 terawatt-hours of energy in North America each year, so even small improvements in efficiency can have huge overall impacts. We expect LED T8 products to improve further and gain market share.”

The next important technology trend is Google’s acquisition of thermostat company Nest. This takeover marked the beginning of a revolution in the connected-home industry. Soon after the acquisition, Apple, Samsung, Comcast, LG, and several other major companies rolled out their own smart home protocols, alliances, and products. According to the recent E Source report Home Energy Management Is Coming: Are You Ready? (available to members of the E Source Technology Assessment Service), home energy management is the latest frontier in the energy-efficiency industry and it’s rapidly evolving in the marketplace.

Rounding out E Source’s top three trends are major innovations in laundry technologies. In 2014, ozone technologies appeared for residential laundry applications, liquid carbon dioxide systems were developed for commercial uses, and polymer beads were introduced. Additionally, Energy Star qualified its first-ever residential clothes dryers and manufacturers created a host of aftermarket retrofit devices that can boost laundry efficiency.

“Overall, this was a remarkable year for efficiency technologies. We saw tremendous innovation on both the gas and electric side and across all sectors,” says Sator. “In addition to these top three developments, we saw advancements in organic LEDs (OLEDs), HVAC products, and building automation systems as well as improved utilization of Big Data. With ever-increasing pressure on utility demand-side management portfolios to perform, it’s comforting to know that the pipeline of exciting emerging technologies is well stocked.”

The newly published report, Top 22 Technologies and Trends of 2014, is available to members of the E Source Technology Assessment Service. More information about some of the technologies in the report can be found in the blog post Top 5 Technologies and Trends of 2014 and in the E News article What 2014’s Technology Trends Mean for 2015.

About E Source
For 26 years, E Source has been providing unbiased, objective research and advisory services to over 300 utilities and large energy users. Our energy experts have answered more than 8,000 questions over the past 3 years. This guidance helps our customers advance their efficiency programs, enhance customer relationships, and use energy more efficiently.

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Kym Wootton
E Source
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