So what do we associate with the latest buzzword of “Smart Energy”? Most people will probably respond with “isn’t that a Smart Meter?”
Well let’s explore exactly what is so “smart”, or not, with a Smart Meter. Apart from sending your usage directly to your energy supplier making it more cost effective for them, does it actually reduce your energy costs just because you now have a display that shows what is being consumed?
How about we really explore what we mean by “smart energy”. I would say smart energy is incorporating intelligence into our homes. The “intelligence” part can then decide for itself where the supply should come from to be most cost effective for the home owner and the environment at any particular time of the day.
A number of energy suppliers are now moving more and more to renewables away from traditional fossil fuels such as oil and gas which is great news. Some even offer alerts to let you know that energy costs have gone negative when too much renewable energy is being generated – yes they will actually pay you to use energy!
Solar energy and wind energy is free; sure there is an initial upfront cost to install but what is the long term cost to our pockets and the environment? It therefore makes sense to use intelligence to decide when we can use that “free” energy as opposed to paying an energy supplier.
Battery storage also comes into the “smart energy” mix that can store the “free” energy while it is available and then even export back to the grid when the battery is full and no energy is being consumed by the household. During times when the “free” energy is not being generated the battery storage can provide power to the home. Even if that runs out the incorporation of “economy” meters can be used to purchase energy when it is the cheapest.
This technology exists now and here at Woodland View we have incorporated a Loxone Automation system, a fantastic product from Austria installed by Loxone Silver Partner, Alpha Touch Limited (www.alphatouch.co.uk), as the foundation of this intelligence. This will be used in tandem with our Solar Panels from Solar Plants. The decision making will be built in and will provide day-to-day monitoring of energy produced, consumed and exported to the grid. This information can then be displayed on our smart phones, tablet devices and computers. A system that thinks for itself to reduce our energy costs and be better for the environment – now that is what I call “Smart”.