EnergyHub, creator of electronic dashboards that let people track and reduce how much energy they are using in real time, closed its first round of funding today, gaining a certain degree of legitimacy in an increasingly crowded field of competitors. The money will fund a 50-home pilot test of the firm’s products in preparation for commercial release as early as this summer.

While it didn’t disclose the amount of the round, received from .406 Ventures and Physic Ventures, the company’s chief executive said it was typical of most first rounds of capital, meaning it probably fell somewhere in the low single-digit millions. This should be enough to push its dashboard device out into the market as well as its requisite socket adapters and power strips, reports Greentech Media.

The dashboard itself is a standalone monitor display that can be placed anywhere in the home. It receives and presents information about home energy consumption in several simple, easy-to-understand formats. The data itself is transferred to the device through ZigBee sensors (see today’s earlier story about ZigBee distributor Ember for more information on this system). All told, the EnergyHub system is estimated to cost a little over $100.

EnergyHub is far from alone when it comes to easy-to-use energy monitoring systems. Tendril and Greenbox, both of which offer dashboards of their own (even in the form of a handy iPhone app), spring immediately to mind. But some more formidable players are also jumping on the bandwagon. Intel, for example, has partnered with General Electric to bring the same data and metrics to people’s PC and television screens, no special monitor needed.

This might seem like a daunting environment for a startup with limited resources, but so far there seems to be enough demand to sustain multiple players. As smart meters gain traction, more and more homeowners are interested in knowing how much power they are using, and more importantly, how much it’s costing them. This has paved the way for companies like EnergyHub and its rivals to find significant customer bases of their own. Maybe after they all launch, a wave of consolidation will leave the strongest players standing — but that’s still a ways off.

EnergyHub also has an advantage because its system works even if a smart meter is not installed in the home in question. It’s able to ascertain pretty much the same consumption data from its wall socket adapters and power strips. The company says its dashboard also lets users measure and even adjust temperature in their homes, even though it doesn’t offer smart thermostats itself.

In addition to the recent funding, the one-year-old company scored a $156,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.