Smart Neighborhood to 'help families take control of energy use, live better'
Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood is a community built for energy efficiency using microgrid technology. Photo by Laurey Glenn
As it nears completion, Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood brings together high-performance homes, energy efficient systems and appliances, connected devices and a microgrid on a community-wide scale.
Smart Neighborhood in Birmingham is a future-focused, energy-efficient community with homes that are rated 35 percent more efficient than standard Alabama homes, reports Alabama Newscenter. The homes, built by Signature Homes, provide a glimpse into what residential construction may look like in 20 years and are equipped with systems and appliances that give customers more control over their home’s features and energy use.
The microgid near the Smart Neighborhood is made up of solar panels, battery storage and a backup natural gas generator. It is the first microgrid in the Southeast to support an entire residential community, officials said.
The neighborhood is also tied to Alabama Power’s electric grid. The neighborhood’s intelligent technology communicates with each home’s heating, air conditioning and water-heating systems to determine the best way to provide energy.
Alabama Power is gathering data from the homes and the microgrid over the next two years to provide insight into how neighborhoods of the future could function. The information will help the company develop new programs, services and advanced energy solutions to meet the evolving needs of Alabama Power customers.
All the homes in the neighborhood have been sold, with about half now occupied. The remaining homes under construction are expected to be completed in late spring.
“Smart Neighborhood brings together technologies and data in new ways that help families take control of their energy use and live better today,” said John Hudson, senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development for Alabama Power.
Among the homes in the neighborhood is Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood Idea House. A hub for the project’s research, the Smart Neighborhood Idea House showcases the streamlined connectivity of the advanced products, efficient equipment and enhanced building features. Additional technologies the company is testing, such as smart glass, are included in the home.
Alabama Power will use the Smart Neighborhood Idea House as a resource for homebuilders, trade organizations and industry groups during the two years of research and data collection on the project.