National energy-efficiency group lauds Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood as a “Star”

National energy-efficiency group lauds Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood as a “Star”
Alabama Power Executive Vice President Zeke Smith, left, receives the Star of Energy Efficiency Award from U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama at the Alliance to Save Energy awards ceremony. (contributed)

The list of accolades for Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood keeps growing.

The company was presented with a “Stars of Energy Efficiency Award” for Smart Neighborhood this month by the Alliance to Save Energy, one of the nation’s leading energy-efficiency organizations.

The award, in the “Star of Systems Efficiency” category, was announced in July and recognizes Smart Neighborhood for its “new emphasis on reducing energy use through integrated and automated technologies, on-demand efficiency opportunities that can better balance electrical grid loads, and corporate leadership in speeding the deployment of efficiency solutions.”

Winners in other categories, who also received their awards at the ceremony in Washington, D.C., included Rand, OhmConnect and Pepco Holdings.

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, presenting the award for Smart Neighborhood, praised the project’s forward-looking nature.

“In Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood, residents are seeing benefits right now while the groundwork is set for more innovation in the years ahead,” Jones said.

In accepting the award, Zeke Smith, Alabama Power executive vice president, emphasized the benefits to customers.

“One of our foundational values is to put customers at the center of everything we do, and we began Smart Neighborhood with that as our goal,” Smith said.

“New technologies and systems offer us more opportunities to enhance our customers’ experiences. We are committed to initiatives, like Smart Neighborhood, that strengthen our ability to deliver products and services that make it easier for customers to use energy efficiently and in ways that enrich their lives.”

Smart Neighborhood is a 62-home community in Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham, that integrates high-performance homes with energy-efficient systems and appliances, connected devices and support by the first community-scale microgrid in the Southeast.

Project partners include Signature Homes, the research and development team at Southern Company, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute and technology vendors Carrier, Vivint and Rheem. Within Alabama Power, the project team included almost every department, led by the Customer Service Organization.

The neighborhood was completed about a year ago. More recently, research findings from the Hoover project have been used to develop a Smart Neighborhood Builder Program, and three additional neighborhoods are underway in Alabama.

Smart Neighborhood has received widespread media recognition, including a recent feature on CNN, as a prime example of how electric utilities are innovating to meet evolving customer needs. The Alliance posted a blog about Smart Neighborhood earlier this month.

The Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit, bipartisan alliance of business, government, environmental and consumer leaders advocating for enhanced energy productivity to achieve economic growth, a cleaner environment and greater energy security, affordability and reliability.

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