Power and Clean Energy in a 2022 Home
We often get asked how to live in a luxury home and be ecologically sensitive. All the technology and sophistication tend to lead people to conclude that you cannot think green and have a large house. While there are many simple things you can do, like automatic shades and smart thermostats, there are increasingly more options around power and power management that can be considered in a clean energy home.
If you are building or renovating a home, here are four technologies around power that will improve your quality of life and help you live a little greener.
Having a Whole-Home Management Approach
The first and most crucial thing to do is have a coherent approach to managing the power systems in your home. There is no point installing fabulous technology and making it so hard to use that it sits abandoned. Moreover, like the multiplying remote controls on your coffee table, if the power systems do not interact with the rest of your home, they become an island disconnected from all you do.
Suppose you pick one of the whole home automation platforms companies like BRAVAS offers (Savant, Crestron, Elan, and Control4). In that case, they probably have the connections to combine all your power needs into one interface. Depending on which of the following technologies you wish to use, it might change which platform you pick, but we can probably make the connections you need if you already have a system.
Stand-alone sellers of these technologies may try and convince you that they do not need to integrate into your whole home system; they require you to have another app or another remote. Our experience is that when homeowners do this, they either end up never using the technology or never getting its benefits.
Powering your Home with Batteries
While not initially helpful to improve the greening of your home, batteries play a significant role in managing luxury homes. We talked about some of these opportunities in a podcast we did last year with Sonnen. There has also been lots of press and interest in the Tesla Powerwall. Whichever technology you prefer, there are lots of things to consider.
Most important are the questions of which systems in your house you believe are emergency or life-preserving. These are the first systems that need battery backup and integration into your home systems. Companies like Savant have solutions and tools to help you manage your power loads and integrate them into a battery system. You can find more on their Savant Power website.
Depending on where you live, there are many more options for integrating these battery systems into your local power provider's network. In the most developed markets, local utility power generators may store power on your batteries and then use them to balance their loads, and this is something they may compensate you for. Of course, this makes even more sense if you have solar panels installed.
If you live in an area where there are frequent power disruptions or sunshine is plentiful, you may already consider the value of generating your power. In the case of solar, you probably already have batteries as you must store the power generated. When generators are used, batteries are also valuable, and they enable uninterrupted power and can smooth out spikes. Sometimes a combination of all these technologies works together.
When you get to that point, solutions like Savant Power become essential to ensure you can automate and manage those systems. It takes too much time and is probably too complicated for an average human to manage all these systems and connections. Additionally, you want to make sure backup systems are activated automatically, and that platforms like Savant can always move faster than humans. As these systems get increasingly more intelligent, they can also optimate usage based on your past behaviors.
The ultimate here is to create a microgrid that combines all these technologies and your local electrical provider to optimize the technologies and minimize your expenses. Doing this not only reduces wastage but enables you to buy power at its lower costs and even potentially sell spare power back to the grid.
Towards Carbon Neutral?
Can you get to carbon-neutral doing this? Well probably not yet but you can go a long way to optimizing your power usage. This is a complex area to get right and having professionals with you is critical to success. This is not a DIY project and may not even a project a traditional electrician will want to cover.
The first step in this relationship is probably a design project where someone like BRAVAS can understand your power needs and propose a solution. Reach out to BRAVAS if this is something you would like to understand. We’d love to start on this journey with you.