Green, sustainable building is all around us—in our homes, in our buildings, and in our infrastructure. Today, homebuilders are demonstrating how technology can help create an energy-efficient and resilient community. Up next, microgrids.
Consider the example of KB Home, which announced it has launched an all-electric microgrid community in California, which is powered by both solar and battery. The homebuilder partnered with government, university, utility, tech company, and car manufacturer to test the new homes at KB Home’s Oak Shade and Durango communities.
All the homes in these communities will be equipped with smart technologies and a backup battery, plus community microgrid connectivity. These are designed to work together to provide a self-supporting energy system that powers a specific neighborhood with a community battery and has the capability to operate independent during a grid outage.
Peggy Smedley recently wrote about a similar community becoming net positive through a collective in the community, where a home can rely on their neighbor for energy and vice versa. These homes at Hunters Point on Florida’s Gulf Coast do not rely on any state-powered grid.
The bottomline is the way homes are connected today—and the way they give and receive energy is very different from days in the past, which will offer a unique set of benefits to the buyers who are then living in these homes.
For example, at KB Home’s Oak Shade and Durango communities, innovative technology, coupled with advanced home design and certifications, enable homeowners to decrease energy usage by 40%, while potentially lowering energy costs. These home and community features in combination can help lower homebuyers’ carbon footprint and conserve precious natural resources.
Also, homeowners can switch to that elusive battery energy use in case of an outage and disconnect from the grid to help maintain the home’s essential energy functions and continue to operate for a certain period. And of course, homes in these KB Home communities come EV (electric vehicle) charger ready.
Beyond just the energy-savings features, homeowners also have access to app-based monitoring and control to easily customize and track their energy usage and storage, creating a truly customizable and connected home experience for the owner.
Going forward, the project partners will conduct research to measure the energy efficiency of each energy-smart connected community in comparison to traditional residential solar communities. Together, the companies will explore how to build all-electric homes that will more effectively meet the requirements of future energy codes and how an energy-smart connected community, energy storage batteries, and bidirectional EV chargers can work together to maximize efficiency and comfort—and help keep the power on for a certain period of time at a community level. The research will continue throughout and beyond the development cycle of both communities.
While this is one example, many builders are exploring how technologies can help make a home more sustainable and energy efficient. What are you planning to put into the homes you are building today?
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