Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood is near completion, bringing together for the first time in the Southeast high-performance homes, energy efficient systems and appliances, connected devices and a microgrid on a community-wide scale.
Smart Neighborhood is a future-focused, energy-efficient community with homes that are rated 35 percent more efficient than standard Alabama homes being built today. The homes, built by Signature Homes, provide a glimpse into what residential construction may look like in 20 years, and are equipped with cutting-edge systems and appliances that give customers more control over their home’s features and energy use.
The microgid, located near the Smart Neighborhood at Reynolds Landing in suburban Birmingham, 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. 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.
“Smart Neighborhood systems can analyze and predict the entire community’s future energy needs and ensure customers are served in the most efficient ways possible,” said John Hudson, senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development for Alabama Power.
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.
“With Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood, the future of residential energy has arrived,” Hudson said. “Smart Neighborhood brings together technologies and data in new ways that help families take control of their energy use and live better today.”
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.
In addition to Signature Homes, Smart Neighborhood was made possible through partnerships with researchers from Alabama Power’s parent company, Southern Company, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Electric Power Research Institute, as well as technology vendors Carrier, Vivint and Rheem, among others. Learn more about Smart Neighborhood at www.smartneighbor.com.
“Reynolds Landing has been a success with outstanding market acceptance – we sold all of the 62 homes within six months of opening our model,” said Dwight Sandlin, Signature Homes CEO. “We feel Smart Neighborhood is a game changer and will have a strong impact on the housing market for years to come.”