With advances in technology and the advent of high-speed internet connections, many of us now have easy access to a range of information about the buildings we live in.
Thanks to the proliferation of hardware and software in the home, this trend is showing no signs of subsiding and comes in many different forms, from indoor air quality monitors to “smart” doorbells that give us real-time visual notifications when someone is trying to answer ours Property access.
The generation of electricity from renewable residential areas is also becoming increasingly important. More and more people are installing solar panels in hopes of lowering the bills and their ecological footprint.
In the US alone, the residential solar market installed an output of 738 megawatts in the third quarter of 2020, an increase of 14% compared to the second quarter. This comes from a recent report by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie.
Earlier this month, California-based SunPower, which specializes in the design, manufacture, and supply of solar panels and systems, announced the launch of an app that allows homeowners to evaluate and manage their power generation, consumption, and battery storage settings. Cellphone.
The service will be available to customers with its SunPower Eqiunox system and is another example of how connected technologies can provide us with valuable information about the operation of buildings.
Similar offerings in this increasingly crowded market include what are known as “smart” meters that allow consumers to see in real time how much energy they are using and how much money they are spending.
Other products such as Centrica’s Hive allow users to install a range of connected kits – from plugs and lights to thermostats and indoor cameras – that can be controlled via an app on their mobile phone and, in some cases, their voice.
Charge a charged car
Solar panels are one way of integrating sustainable technology into homes. Other examples are the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles.
Given that governments around the world are trying to stop diesel and gasoline vehicle sales and encourage consumers to buy electrical systems, home charging systems could become an integral part of the built environment in the years to come.
Companies that offer paid fees for home use include Pod Point and BP Pulse. Both services include apps that provide data such as energy consumption, charging costs and charging history.
Another company, Wallbox, recently announced that it will be launching its first electric vehicle charger for North American households.
The Spain-based company said the system would be compatible with all types of electric vehicles, would allow customers to plan charges, and could be voice-controlled via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Aside from the private sector, governments are also trying to encourage the development of charging infrastructure for private households.
Over the weekend, UK authorities announced that the electric vehicle homecharge program, which gives drivers up to £ 350 (about $ 487) for a charging system, will be expanded and expanded to appeal to those who are in leaseholds Life.
Mike Hawes, executive director of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, described the government announcement as “welcome and a step in the right direction”.
“As we near the end of sales of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans by 2030, we need to accelerate the expansion of the charging system for electric vehicles,” he added.
“An EV revolution will require the installation of homes and workplaces, which this announcement will fuel, but also a massive increase in public charges on the road and rapid charging stations on our strategic road network.”
Change underway, but challenges ahead
As attempts to decarbonize buildings and society increase, the way our homes look and function could be on the verge of a big change.
“On-grid home generation technologies like solar panels will be important in moving to a 100% renewable electricity grid, but decarbonizing electricity is only part of the transition,” Peter Tyldesley, executive director of the Center for Alternative Technology, told CNBC via email.
Turning to the UK, Tyldesley went on to explain how his organization “provided just under 10% of the electricity in a future zero-carbon society from solar PV that uses 15-20% of the UK’s rooftop”. This compared to over 75% of electricity from wind power.
Tyldesley went on to pose “the bigger challenge”.
“To decarbonise the UK housing stock to the extent and at the rate it takes to go to zero carbon, we may need to renovate a million houses a year to improve insulation and airtightness and use heat pumps or over the next few decades other non-installed ones to install – fossil fuel heating, “he said.
“To do this, we urgently need a coordinated national program with a commitment to multi-year government investment,” he added.
Tyldesley wanted to highlight some of the opportunities that could arise as buildings become increasingly interconnected and give us a huge amount of data on how they work.
“Studies on the introduction of smart metering technology have shown that consumers use less energy when they can monitor their consumption in real time. Therefore, this technology, when combined with other forms of support, can be a useful part of behavior change programs for improving home efficiency.” , he said.
“The introduction of smart devices can go a step further – they respond to signals coming from the grid and help shift consumption from peak times to times when more renewable energy is available,” he added.