Can home energy management devices reach a level of penetration that makes them a real contender for reducing household energy waste? Tendril Networks thinks so. The Boulder, Colo.-based startup is poised to move from scores of pilot projects to real-world commercial deployments in the second half of 2011, some measuring in the millions of homes, CEO Adrian Tuck told a smart grid industry audience yesterday at Greentech Media’s Networked Grid event in San Francisco. At those levels, home energy dashboards and displays could really start to deliver some of the additional benefits that separate their efficiency returns from the lower, yet more widely spread, returns seen from OPower, a startup that uses data analysis and text, email and paper-mailed efficiency tip sheets to help about 10 million utility customers around the country shave 2 to 4 percent from their energy use. One big question about both approaches to home energy efficiency, however, is how long consumers will stick with their efficiency ways before getting bored or busy and letting their efforts slip. To lock in long-term efficiency gains, some form of automation of household energy loads might be needed — but that, of course, will require a whole new level of technology embedded in the home.