Research Highlight

Homes get smart

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory research house collects data about the home’s simulated energy use from sensors strategically located throughout the home. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Ways to give homeowners more centralized control over how much electricity their home uses—from the air conditioning unit to the heat pump water heater—are being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. An ORNL team is working with Southern Company and Alabama Power on its Smart Neighborhood, a research project that will implement state-of-the-art

An unoccupied research house located in a private subdivision serves as a single-home test bed for the Smart Neighborhood project led by Southern Company, Alabama Power and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy (hi-res image)
appliances and an innovative energy optimization system in a 62-home subdivision in Hoover, Alabama. While Smart Neighborhood is under construction, ORNL is developing energy management algorithms and assessing their performance in a single-home environment located in a traditional subdivision in East Tennessee. Data collected from the research home’s appliances, which are identical to those to be installed in Smart Neighborhood homes, will inform ways to reduce overall house energy demand. After ORNL completes this phase, their solution will be scaled up and implemented at Smart Neighborhood.