The U.S. Department of Energy recently unveiled the Georgia Power Smart Neighborhood, an Atlanta community of 46 smart townhomes that will allow researchers to monitor how homeowners use energy.
The Altus neighborhood, known as the Georgia Power Smart Neighborhood, is a set of townhomes that have been outfitted with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, batteries, and state-of-the-art, grid-connective, energy-efficient building components and appliances like heat pump water heaters (HPWHs). These components will be managed and optimized by a novel, grid-interactive control system that Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) developed with support from BTO. If the control system tests succeed, it will have the capacity to optimize home energy use and manage the neighborhood’s major energy users to maximize value for homeowners and grid operators alike.
“One of the most important approaches that EERE has undertaken to improve the efficiency and affordability of energy is an approach that re-frames the way we think about buildings,” said Fitzsimmons, who joined the project team in Atlanta to open the neighborhood. “No longer are we merely searching for ways to maximize efficiency within a building’s walls; we’re working to understand how those buildings influence the power grid to which they’re connected to optimize more than building performance. We are so pleased to see this level of innovation, and it was done without regulation.”