Home automation lets Smart Neighborhood residents run households with ease

Home automation lets Smart Neighborhood residents run households with ease
Each home in the Smart Neighborhood will have home automation technology that makes it simpler than ever for the homeowner to set and adjust functions such as thermostats, water temperature and home security systems. (Katie Bolton / Alabama NewsCenter)

Checking in on Smart Neighborhood™ – part two

Cutting-edge home automation features will be included in each home of the new Smart Neighborhood™ by Alabama Power, and company research, development and innovation teams are working to connect the final dots.

Smart Neighborhood is a state-of-the-art community of 62 homes in Signature Homes’ new Reynolds Landing community in Ross Bridge in Hoover. The first homeowners are scheduled to move into their homes later this month.

“The goal is to have these homes really come alive when the homeowner arrives. Lights turn on and the thermostat sets to the desired temperature, all with a simple ‘I’m home’,” said Jim Leverette, an engineer for Southern Company Services Research and Development. Alabama Power’s parent company, Southern Company, is a partner on the project.

Most devices will have Amazon’s Alexa voice integration for optimal use and convenience.

The innovative features will aim not only to make the homes more enjoyable when homeowners are there, but homeowners will be able to control these features remotely through their smartphones.

With the completion of the community’s first homes this month, the final pieces are falling into place in the project’s three main areas:

“We want the homeowners’ experience to be as seamless as possible, giving them more control over their energy use and their homes’ devices than ever before,” Leverette said. “This means being able to change your thermostat temperature, adjust your water heater while you’re on vacation, remotely let someone in your home to drop off a package, and look at how much energy your home is really using when you’re not there – all from your smartphone.”

Leverette said the home automation features in Smart Neighborhood will give the company insight into what connected home technologies customers prefer, and how their energy use changes when they can control their devices from anywhere.

“The performance data we collect will allow us to see how connected technology will shift energy usage patterns,” Leverette said. “As more and more devices become connected, there are emerging opportunities for customers and utilities to collaborate for mutual benefit.”

Each home will be equipped with tech-connected automation such as a Carrier Infinity Greenspeed® Intelligence home comfort system with an Infinity Touch thermostat; Rheem EcoNet mobile app for its hybrid electric water heater; and Vivint smart home system including voice-activated security, smart locks, lights, cameras and garage door control.

As for the kitchen and laundry room, interconnected Samsung appliances include a smart hub refrigerator, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and an induction cooking range.

“We are excited to learn how the homeowners use these devices, which will help us create new solutions to make our customers’ lives easier,” said Todd Rath, director of Marketing Strategy, Programs and Intelligence for Alabama Power.

About Smart Neighborhood

Alabama Power announced the Smart Neighborhood project in April.

Each home features emerging energy-efficient technologies, materials and appliances, all connected to the Southeast’s first community-scale microgrid. Performance data and energy use will be gathered from the homes’ innovative features and analyzed to provide insight into how homes can be built and function more efficiently.

Construction on the neighborhood is expected to be complete in spring 2018.

The project is a collaborative partnership with Signature Homes, Southern Company, Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and various technology and other vendors. Learn more at smartneighbor.com.

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