First Electric creates smart energy home of the future to educate members on high-tech energy efficiency

First Electric creates smart energy home of the future to educate members on high-tech energy efficiency

Posted on August 22nd, 2019

First Electric Cooperative is upgrading an existing house with home automation technology to create a smart energy home of the future to educate members about energy savings.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, interest in connected or smart home automation technology is trending upward among consumers and manufacturers are responding with a growing list of smart products, including programmable thermostats, LED light bulbs, power strips, water heaters, solar panels and more.

“Our goal is to show our members how home automation technology can make a significant difference with energy savings. We anticipate our member saving 50 percent in energy usage just from the hybrid heat pump water heater and solar panels,” said Tonya Sexton, vice president of Marketing and Development.

“In the 1950s, First Electric educated our members on the benefits of using electric appliances. This is the modern-day version of that where we will use this smart energy home of the future to educate members on how home automation technology can help to lower their electric bill,” Sexton said.

The smart energy home of the future, located in the Base Meadows neighborhood of Jacksonville, is owned by Tori Smith. It is a 1,670 square foot home built in 2006 and was identified among several homes that could be good candidates for energy efficiency improvements and home automation integration. Current efficiency, technology and solar viability were considered and based upon the results; the Smith’s home was chosen as the smart energy home of the future.

Home automation technologies used in the upgrade include:

  • 4k Solar Array donated by Today’s Power, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc.
  • Rheem Performance Platinum 50 gal. hybrid high efficiency smart tank water heater
  • Google Nest, smart programmable thermostat
  • Google Smart Light LED kit
  • Smart LED bulbs
  • Filtrete Smart Air Filters
  • Google Home Hub and Google Home mini smart speakers
  • Google Nest Yale door lock
  • Google Nest Hello video doorbell

“We’re in the process now of completing the home automation upgrade and should be finished by October,” Sexton said. “Upon completion, we will release a series of how-to videos and articles so that members can take this information and create their own smart energy home.”

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