Ford and Whirlpool are amongst a group of companies that have joined forces to demonstrate how they can slash the electricity bills and carbon footprint of a typical US home.
The MyEnergi Lifestyle project was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It will showcase how technologies such as renewable energy generation, efficient appliances, smart energy use and electric vehicles can work together to optimise how electricity is used in the home.
The average American home uses more than 11,000 kWh of electricity a year. However, Ford and its partners believe that energy costs can be reduced by 60% and more than 9,000 kg (55%) slashed off the carbon footprint through, for example, changing electricity usage patterns.
Most of the residential electrical load on the grid occurs during daytime hours and, to ensure demand doesn’t exceed supply, utilities incentivize customers to shift their uses to night-time or early-morning with reduced energy rates. Examples of household electrical loads that could be shifted to off-peak hours via an automated or controlled mobile app include charging a plug-in vehicle, running a dishwasher, running a hot water heater, running the refrigerator’s defrost cycle and ice-making.
Research by Georgia Institute of Technology predicts that if every home in the US were to adopt this approach it could be the equivalent taking 32 million homes off the power grid – equal to the number of homes in California, New York and Texas.
Ford’s plug-in hybrid car technology will be at the heart of the project as the company aims to demonstrate how charging can be optimised to coincide with off-peak electricity rates and take advantage of solar generation.
“More than ever, cars are sharing the same energy source as the home,” says Mike Tinskey, global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure at Ford Motor Company. “The time is right for the home appliance and transportation sectors to converge if we are going to tackle a myriad of sustainability challenges in a rapidly changing world.”
Other companies taking part in the Ford-led collaboration include power management company Eaton, solar panel manufacturer SunPower, semiconductor provider Infineon, and Nest Labs which is behind the Nest learning thermostat.