NREL’s ‘Home of the Future’ to Manage Energy Demand & Grid Disruption

Colorado Lab Tests ‘Smart Home,’ Where Dishwashers Talk To The Grid

KUNC, November 19, 2014

Bryan Hannegan is picturing the home of the future. In his imagination, it’s not in outer space, or shaped like a giant geodesic dome. This home talks to itself, and to what’s around it.

“The dishwasher could talk to the electric vehicle in the garage, it could talk to the solar PV system on the roof,” said Hannegan, a scientist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.

These “talking” appliances can also read a weather forecast calling for a sunny afternoon. This tells them the rooftop solar will be making lots of power, meaning it’s a great time to run the dryer and dishwasher.

You may be at work, but your “smart” home doesn’t need you. When you pull into your driveway at the end of the day, the dishes are done and the clothes are dry — all with power generated from your rooftop that afternoon.

NREL engineers are testing versions of this home of the future in their Energy Systems Integration Laboratory, where Hannegan is the associate director. Their goal: to maximize how homes use renewable energy, and minimize disruption to the grid.

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