KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The TVA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are looking to change the way East Tennesseans control their homes. On Wednesday, a tour was given of ORNL’s Yarnell house to show what they have been working on.
Yarnell house is an energy efficiency research and demonstration home. The Home Energy Management System is a control platform and mobile app that controls home devices, like thermostats, solar panels, and electric car chargers. A TVA spokesperson said the system allows two-way communication between the home’s systems and local power companies. The aim of this system is to give owners more control not just over their savings but so much more.
“Up till now, there’s been technologies that allow you as the individual homeowner to use on your phone. So think about doorbells, lights, those kinds of things. What there hasn’t been is the connection between your home and the utility. This now provides that connection back to the utility,” said Dr. Joe Hoagland, vice-president for innovation and research at TVA. “It can utilize what’s in your home, batteries, electric vehicles storage, water heater, as a demand response tool. In other words being able to cut the demand for electricity, like, during a hot summer day, that then allows the utility to run more efficiently and reduces costs for everybody.”
“The research that they’re doing will provide homeowners with savings and also a sense of security as for their energy needs. And they won’t have to worry about storms or power outages or brownouts and things like that,” said LT Governor Randy McNally.
ORNL hopes that this technology will be available for use within the next year or two.
“The next goal is to get local power companies within the valley interested in the technology and to begin for them to use it on their systems. As well as working with different vendors and so forth, and builders and folks in homes to be able to use it. So I am hoping within the next year or two we see this move out across the valley,” said Hoagland.
Speakers at Wednesday’s showcase say the Yarnell house’s new energy system is just one example of the work TVA and ORNL are doing.