German Lab Tests Smart Home Tech

We’ve reported on some innovative ideas coming from German research organization Fraunhofer in the past, and this one looks like another winner, too. In a recent statement, Fraunhofer announced they’ve built what they call the Smart Energy Lab, a facility designed to simulate a single family house or apartment. The lab, located in Freiburg Germany, will act as a test bed for home-based smart energy systems.

Imagine, if you will, a home with both solar and thermal power generators, battery storage, an electric vehicle charging station and all the typical home appliances networked together and connected to a computer that could tell you anything you wanted to know about the state of the home and its energy use. Info like which lights are on the most, how much solar energy you banked that day and whether the oven got left on would get served up on a computer or mobile phone app.

Fraunhofer Smart Energy Lab

image via Fraunhofer-Gesellschaf

Fraunhofer thinks that sort of next-generation home concept could be a reality soon with more efficient research.  In order to get a wide variety of technologies working together, you have to be able to be able to test them together. The Smart Energy Lab was created to enable that research and hopes that it will make developing and testing systems easier and faster.

Fraunhofer explains that the lab is comprised of virtual and real world technology that can simulate just about any technology combination that researchers might dream up. It’s a sort of plug-and-play lab that will let scientists pick and choose what technologies they want to put together so they can test their theories out in a real-world scenario. Ideally, facilities like this will help to shorten the lag time between smart-home ideas and installations.

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