The connection between smart buildings and the smart grid will be one of the hot growth areas, predicts Jesse Berst, managing director of Global Smart Energy, and publisher of SmartGridNews.com, in his perspective on the home energy management market.

Do you feel commercial buildings and business owners are more apt to find value in energy management, because at a larger scale the benefits increase?

Berst: The connection between smart buildings (commercial) and the smart grid will be one of the hot growth areas of the next two years, beginning in 2012.

Is there a positive story to be told at the moment about the advancement of smart buildings, beyond the consumer facing energy management systems?

Berst: We are moving past "manual" demand response where the customer takes action upon receiving a call or email. We are moving to "automated" demand response where the building manager defines scenarios and preferences in advance and the system does everything automatically, in seconds.

Can you explain your “future vision” of what a smart building or smart home might look like in 10 years’ time?

Berst: Energy management will be fully automated and built into every building and every device. We will program in our preferences and the system will do all the work for us, creating a custom energy plan for us on the fly, tailored to our special needs, while also getting the best possible price. What's more, many buildings will also be power producers, via solar panels, co-generation or even fuel cells.

Jesse Berst will be one of the speakers the Smart Energy International summit in San Francisco, CA, October 24-26, 2011.