International Builders’ Show Puts Spotlight on Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood
By Katie Bolton
Alabama Power’s cutting-edge Smart Neighborhood™ project is getting the attention of the building industry at the world’s biggest construction conference.
The Smart Neighborhood team presented at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show (IBS) held January 9-11 in Orlando, Florida, about the project, now under construction in Hoover.
The International Builders’ Show is the largest annual light construction show in the world, attracting 60,000 visitors from 100 countries.
Smart Neighborhood is a state-of-the-art community of 62 homes equipped with emerging energy-efficient technologies, materials and appliances, all connected to the Southeast’s first community-scale microgrid. Performance data and energy usage gathered from the homes’ innovative features will provide insight into how neighborhoods of the future will function, and which programs and services can provide energy solutions for customers.
“We expect our research to yield meaningful contributions to the future of homebuilding and home energy usage,” said John Hudson, senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development for Alabama Power. “Our team is looking forward to sharing details about the components of Smart Neighborhood with building industry leaders, and pleased about the attention this collaborative project is already getting from across the nation.”
Alabama Power Market Specialist Shon Richey, Southern Company Research Engineer Jim Leverette and Signature Homes President Jonathan Belcher will provide a project overview on Jan. 11 during the conference’s “Disruptors & Innovators: The Future of Home Building” panel.
The discussion will focus on how the prototypical Smart Neighborhood will demonstrate the impact of changing codes and technology to builders, consumers and the grid, and how lessons learned will shape the way homes are built and customer expectations are met in the future, according to the NAHB.
The panel discussion also will explore the future of housing and the products, processes and people on the cusp of transforming and disrupting the home construction industry.
Among those presenting at the conference are industry leaders and futurists who will address market shifts expected to take place in home design, labor, construction techniques, financing and more.
Smart Neighborhood is a collaborative partnership with Signature Homes, Southern Company, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and others.
Construction of the neighborhood is expected to be complete this spring. The first homeowners moved into the neighborhood in November, and all homes in the neighborhood have sold.
The neighborhood’s microgrid began operating at the end of 2017. It is the first of its kind in the Southeast.
The microgrid has the capacity to generate more than 600,000 kilowatt hours of energy annually, which is enough to power the neighborhood and provide support to the existing electric grid. The microgrid includes a 330 kWh AC solar array, about 600 kWh of battery storage and 400 kW of natural gas backup generation.
The Smart Neighborhood’s mix of solar panels with battery and natural gas backup and their ability to interact with each home’s HVAC systems and water heater make it a state-of-the-art project.
Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE:SO), is focused on providing innovative energy solutions to improve customers’ lives. Learn more at www.alabamapower.com. Learn more about Smart Neighborhood at www.smartneighbor.com.