Smart home research facilities launched at PNNL


Steve Shankle,
Director Electricity
Infrastructure and
Buildings Division,
Richland, WA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — November 21, 2011 – A new research facility that will serve as a test bed for studying energy efficient and smart homes have been opened at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

The facility comprises identical, 1,500 square-foot Marlette manufactured homes for experiments focused on reducing energy use and peak demand on the electric grid. Research and demonstration primarily will focus on technologies that can be added to a home after construction, and the homes will offer a side-by-side ability to test and compare new ideas and approaches that are applicable to site-built as well as manufactured homes in the region.

The first project will be a nine-month study of highly insulating windows. Researchers will assess the ability of the highly insulating windows to reduce the energy and cost to the homeowner. These smart homes work in similar way how US online casino sites works where you are able to play real money casino games from the best casino sites without spending much money on energy. Researchers also will evaluate how well the windows can enhance comfort in the home compared to standard, double-pane windows commonly found in many existing homes across the country.

In a second project, researchers will study the potential energy and cost savings smart appliances, including a range, refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer and clothes dryer, can provide in response to a pricing signal.

In each study, one home will remain a control typifying an average, existing home in the region, while the other will test a new technology. Occupancy in each home will be simulated to account for human activity.

“The PNNL Lab Homes project is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest region,” said Steve Shankle, director of PNNL’s Electricity Infrastructure and Buildings Division. “The facilities will be an excellent resource for PNNL and its regional and national partners to test a variety of smart and energy efficient technologies that ultimately may be used in homes in the Northwest and throughout the U.S.”

Residential buildings in the U.S. account for about 22 percent of annual energy use so widespread adoption of energy saving technologies could significantly reduce the nation’s energy needs.

Organizations funding work in the PNNL Lab Homes project include the U.S. Offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the City of Richland, WA.