Home energy consumption management and visualization tool WattzOn is making a play to shift its business from consumer-focused tool to something businesses can use to help encourage green construction and renovation practices. WattzOn has seen first-hand that what motivates consumers to ‘go green’ in home renos and appliance upgrades is more often than not financial interest, and it’s repositioning to best take advantage of that motivation.
Today, WattzOn is introducing an expansion of its platform, called WattzOn Connect, providing licensing options to home improvement retailers and financial institutions like banks. The company is hoping that these types of businesses will be able to use its customizable software offerings, which provide home improvement and appliance buying advice based on the energy consumption habits and daily living practices of users, to deliver more targeted services to consumers applying for renovation and loans, and looking to maximize their home’s energy efficiency.
“At first, people thought that the motivation to be green would be enough to drive big changes,” WattzOn Co-Founder and Chief Product and Marketing Officer Steven Ashby told BetaKit in an interview. “And for years, many of the messages people have been told about energy conservation have centered around sacrificing comfort and convenience, rather than how people can improve their lives while saving energy.”
The opportunity WattzOn sees is centered on taking a different approach, and appealing to customers where it counts: in their wallets. “What we’ve seen is that for many people the motivation is financial more than environmental,” Ashby said. “Thirteen cents out of every dollar Americans spend goes to home energy bills and gas for our cars. Collectively this is more than $750 billion in personal energy expenses, this year alone. There is a huge, amazing opportunity to help people recapture some of that, while improving their lives.”
Of course, expanding licensing efforts also provides WattzOn with additional revenue opportunities. At the moment, it makes money through partnerships with organizations like the City of San Jose, and Balfour Beatty, a military housing provider. WattzOn can provide insight to said companies about consumer habits regarding energy use and energy conservation.
WattzOn’s model begins to look a little old-fashioned, however, relying on consumers filling out rather lengthy surveys, when compared to solutions like Nest and EcoFactor that learn through use, and can deliver detailed data via hardware integrations with actual heating and cooling devices in the home. That ambient, passive approach is only “one piece of the solution,” however, according to Ashby.
“Providing personalized, actionable recommendations and helping consumers then take action is what really makes a difference and our software does that,” he told us. “With our latest announcement we are taking this a step further, by bringing financing options that help bridge the gap between what people could and should do to save energy, and what they can do [with banks and stores].”
Still, WattzOn’s greatest challenge is and will remaining convincing consumers that they stand to gain enough via the relatively friction-heavy survey process to make it worthwhile, but new partnerships with the very businesses able to provide users with financing, sales and deals related to improving home energy efficiency might just help it do that.