2011 is shaping up to be a big year for residential demand response. There’s a lot of opportunities in the commercial market, but more and more vendors continue to roll out technologies geared toward the homeowner — an interesting development likely to alter the A/C, heating and other utility systems that residential service techs support.

Smart Grid News’ Jesse Berst profiled Control4, a company that, in his opinion, is making all the right moves to dominate the residential DR market. Control4‘s advantage is its full dashboard, capable of linking nearly every system in a home — lighting, A/C, security system, potentially even electric car charging stations — giving homeowners near-complete control over their home systems. For now, however, functionality is limited to thermostat control and residential DR. Despite the current shortcomings, Berst says Control4, and its dashboard, is moving the industry ahead:

They put highly capable, highly functional devices into homes. In the short-term, those smart home devices provide a consumer-friendly way to experiment with demand response. In the mid-term, additional functions can be added to move us where consumers really want to be – an iPad-quality, multi-function dashboard for whole home control.

Control4, meanwhile, has partnered with Silver Spring Networks and utility companies AEP and NV Energy. The utility relationships are interesting in that they represent a shift toward a consumer perspective of demand response, as opposed to the prevailing utility-first view, according GreenTechGrid’s Katherine Tweed. The partnership with NV Energy, for example, will place about 20,000 of Control4’s meters in customers’ homes by the end of 2012 as part of a pilot program — and that number could just be a start, depending upon the program’s success.

Read more about residential demand response on The Smartvan