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From the Ground Up: Building a Sustainable Home and Encouraging Civic Engagement

Laura Black

Columbia, S.C., — Dec. 1, 2021 — From the street this house will look like all the others. However, if you follow Specialty Publishing Media tech expert Peggy Smedley, from the moment the land is prepped, this home will be a model for sustainable, resilient, and efficient residential homebuilding practices. Peggy and her husband David are embarking on the unimaginable. They are building a Living Lab, with the help of a host of industry partners to encourage ecofriendly and green living.

This home will incorporate the most advanced products and systems from leading manufacturers and technology companies from across the globe. From the Ground Up: Project Sustainability Living Lab will demonstrate and educate how we can create a sustainable, clean, and green future for all homes and future communities in which we live, thrive, and prosper.

This Living Lab home will be developed and designed to restore and regenerate natural ecosystems from grey to green in a cost-effective manner, leveraging the best building materials and focusing on future generations with innovative solutions and working with the highest quality trades and techniques to create the best approaches to building a home.

From the Ground Up: Project Sustainability Living Lab will give consumers, builders, trades, industry, academia, and government an inside look through the entire process of building a sustainable home. Every aspect of the build will be featured from concept to completion, giving homeowners the why and how of every decision throughout the building process.

“Residential energy use is increasing with more people working from home and driving electric vehicles. This is causing homeowners to place a greater priority on energy efficiency and resiliency to reduce their costs and shrink their carbon footprint,” says Richard Korthauer, vice president, Home & Distribution, Schneider Electric. “As the most sustainable company in the world, we are proud to be part of the Living Lab project as we continue to explore new approaches and innovations to help homeowners better understand and optimize their energy use.”

The residential sector accounts for about 21% of the total U.S. energy consumption, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Of the energy used in U.S. homes in 2015, 55% of it was used for heating and cooling. Water heating, appliances, electronics, and lighting accounted for the remaining 45% of total consumption. Builders can change all this. Homeowners can save between 5-30% on their home energy bills by making home energy upgrades typically identified in a home-energy assessment.

The Living Lab is to build, prioritize, educate, and demonstrate a model for sustainable living that can be replicated by individuals or from a community standpoint. The Living Lab will prove sustainable living is important and viable for both current and future generations beginning today.

“This is an impressive collaborative project that is designed to build as much trust, awareness, and education to the future of what a sustainable home can be and should be for a community on this planet,” says Smedley. “As I live in this home, our vision is to engage local democracy and provide community and partners with ongoing insights about what it’s like to live sustainably and to apply technology in the process. I hope this Living Lab will help answer a lot of questions for all of us.”

Companies are invited to participate in this Living Lab home. All participation and collaboration from suppliers will help determine the success of this construction project. Partners involved include the City of Columbia, S.C.CumminsSchneider ElectricpureLiFiEvercamLiFi Research & Development Center, and others.

“LiFi is already deployed on scale and will be in the hands of everyone, everywhere providing unmatched bandwidth, speed, and unparalleled security. We now have a great opportunity to demonstrate LiFi with the consumer in a real-life home environment. As part of this ground-breaking project, we are excited that LiFi will be a fundamental part of a Living Lab that will be a model for the future sustainable living,” says Alistair Banham, CEO, pureLiFi.

Harald Haas, director, LiFi R&D Centre, says, “Light is undoubtedly already illuminating the pathway to 6G. This opportunity to implement an end-to-end light communication system as part of the Living Lab will illustrate a pathway to the future of cellular networks. We will take a radically new step towards net-zero by using ordinary solar cells as high-speed LiFi detectors to extend a local wireless network outdoors.”

Adds Marco Herbst, founder & CEO, Evercam, “Sustainable building is an important concept to our clients and the future of the construction industry, which is why we are excited to partner with Specialty Publishing on such an important project and provide technology that will help them teach the world how to realistically build a sustainable home.”

The significant benefit to the environment will result in creating sustainable building practices across the country. The idea is starting small and creating a system that builds on itself. Sustainable building practices contribute to the community and that means greener homes for improved performance in health, environment, and economics.

About Specialty Publishing Media
Peggy Smedley is an award-winning journalist and technology expert. During her 25-year career she has extensively covered IoT, manufacturing, construction technology, and most recently sustainability, circularity, and resiliency. To participate in the Living Lab, send an email to

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