Project Combines Efficiency, Smart Grid to Save Energy

November 9, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
The roof-integrated solar photovoltaic system is designed to blend seamlessly with roofing materials.

LAS VEGAS - The rise in population across the Desert Southwest has led to a strain on the region’s electrical grid, resulting in higher residential energy costs and, in some cases, electricity overloads and blackouts. To find a solution, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Center for Energy Research, in partnership with Pulte Homes and NV Energy, received approximately $7 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a demonstration project - a community of homes that incorporate energy efficient features and smart grid technology to cut residential energy use by more than one-half.

More than $5.7 million of the grant comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as part of a national effort to improve the efficiency and reliability of the nation’s electrical grid.

The UNLV Center for Energy Research team is monitoring the energy performance of up to 185 homes in Villa Trieste, a community under development in northwest Las Vegas that combines various energy-saving features along with advanced metering technologies to provide communication between the homeowner and utility and encourage less energy use.

“Reducing the demand for electricity during peak summer hours has become a significant issue for both homeowners and utilities, particularly in the heat of the Desert Southwest,” said Bob Boehm, distinguished professor of engineering and director of the UNLV Center for Energy Research. “Villa Trieste will demonstrate on a large scale that significant reduction in peak energy demand can be achieved through conscientious building design and practical application of new technology.”

The single-family, two-story houses range from 1,487 to 1,960 square feet and feature a roof-integrated solar power system that blends seamlessly with roofing materials, a dashboard that gives the resident energy consumption/generation information, 15 SEER air conditioner, 92 percent AFUE furnace, tankless water heater, and other energy and water conserving features. The houses are built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

Each home’s generated solar power will reduce the electricity drawn from the electrical grid. Centralized battery storage at the substation level will draw energy from the homes during off-peak hours for use during peak periods, when the grid is taxed.

The Villa Trieste community is taking an advanced approach to energy savings to significantly reduce peak demand.

In addition, advanced meters and an Internet communication system will allow the utility to transmit almost instantaneous power cost information to the homeowner and enable the homeowner to respond. In general, power costs increase during peak demand periods, so the homeowner could react to this information to shed load and save money. In addition to active participation, an intelligent agent is being developed that could be set to any choice from no modification to full modification of loads. Each event of load shedding that the utility is allowed would have some type of reimbursement associated with it. Included in these events could be control of the home thermostat for predefined periods, ability to turn off pool pumps, on through a variety of other actions including controlling plug loads.

Even after the first homes are sold, research will continue with the goal to reduce peak energy consumption by as much as 65 percent compared to a typical new development. UNLV researchers will monitor home performance against simulation models and modify as necessary to achieve maximum efficiency. Solar photovoltaic system performance will be monitored and adjusted to achieve peak demand offset. Also, homes with varying technologies will be compared for performance characteristics.

More information on the UNLV Center for Energy Research and the Villa Trieste project is available at www.cer.unlv.edu/cer/.

Publication date: 11/09/2009

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 ACI Home Performance Conference

The 2014 ACI National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show was held in Detroit.

Podcasts

NEWSMakers: Michael Willburn

Michael Willburn, president, Infloor Heating Systems, joins the program to discuss his company, radiant heating, industry trends, and whether contractors are becoming more interested in radiant heating. Posted on July 11.

More Podcasts

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 07-21-14 cover

2014 July 21

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

R-22 PHASEOUT POLL

Some in the industry are calling for the EPA to halt production of R-22 as of 2015. What do you think?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

plumbing-hvac.gif
2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con