U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Tomorrow’s Homes … Today!

By Heath Knakmuhs

While Silicon Valley is synonymous with “innovation” in our increasingly digital economy, today’s energy industry has been busy researching, developing, and building tomorrow’s future.  These advanced technologies are being implemented in cities, towns, and neighborhoods all across the country.  

To highlight the advances that are improving our modern way of life, we are showcasing  some of the most cutting edge, forward-thinking innovations around, an initiative we’re calling Energy Innovates

Our first stop will take us to the city of Hoover, Alabama.  This suburb of Birmingham, with its 85,000 residents, may not be the most obvious choice for the birthplace of the community of future.  Upon closer look, however, you might just find local residents moving into the houses of the future – today.

 Hoover is home to Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood™ which features high-performance, energy-efficient systems, integrating cutting-edge interconnectivity and a dedicated microgrid – available for move-in today.   Smart Neighborhood is a partnership between Southern Company, regional homebuilder Signature Homes, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute, and technology vendors Carrier, Vivint, Rheem, and others. 

By joining forces, these stakeholders have developed a collection of sixty-two future-focused homes that are 35% more efficient than the typical new homes built today.  Moreover, the advanced systems and appliances included as standard with these homes provide customers with nearly unprecedented control over their household energy use, while also collecting and analyzing data from the homes that will support further advancements in the future.  The community even integrates a cutting-edge microgrid capable of powering the entire community with either the sun, batteries, or a backup natural gas generator, while still having access to the 24-7 reliability and affordability of the local electric grid.  

 We’ll be back with more on this collection of next-level homes as we visit with the many innovators that played a vital role in the conception, development, and delivery of what is arguably the most advanced neighborhood in the country.  Follow along on Facebook and Twitter as we take a look at this community, but be warned—you may end up with smart-home envy!

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