We’ve been following the launch and development of Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle home energy management system with great interest. In fact, if you want to get up to speed on exactly what this technology is and how it can save time, energy, and money, check out our interview with Ford’s global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure here.
But all of that information is just speculation until we know whether it actually works in the real world. Just days ago, the research model for the initiative was put into real-world application in KB Home’s ZeroHouse 2.0 — a house that will produce as much energy as it uses — in San Marcos, California.
While KB Home already builds Energy Star-qualified homes that the company says save homehowners an average of $1,000 a month on their utilities, the new ZeroHouse 2.0 is meant to eliminate electricity costs all together. Now the San Diego ZeroHouse has an extra boost toward this goal from Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle system.
MyEnergi Lifestyle works by leveraging technology so key energy-consuming devices in a home use less energy, while also shifting energy usage to less expensive periods. At night, for example, when energy costs are lower, a smart refrigerator can perform high-energy tasks like ice making or defrosting – just as Ford’s plug-in vehicles do with recharging.
The ZeroHouse 2.0 in San Marcos pushes the envelope even more, as it’s the first WaterSense-labeled home built in San Diego County, and includes both a comprehensive Schneider Electric Wiser Home Management System and all-new Whirlpool smart appliances that incorporate Whirlpool 6th Sense Live technology. The Wiser Home Management System allows homeowners to monitor energy consumption, and provides automation control via a Web-based portal or mobile application. This marks the first time these innovative products have been used by a production home builder.
And it’s just this characteristic that makes KB Homes ideal to test and demonstrate the MyEnergi Lifestyle system. We’re not talking about ultra-expensive concept homes, but a high volume builder producing houses that are well within the price range of most American home buyers. As such, they have the potential to disseminate energy saving technologies to a much larger audience.