Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Smart Home in Sydney for Free

The NSW Government is offering a family a free smart home in Sydney for a year. The family will receive free accommodation in return for writing about their experience using the energy and water efficient features of the house at the Newington Smart Village Project in western Sydney.

A "Smart Home Family brief" is provided. This is a 2.39 Mb zip file with:
  • Smart Houme (sic.) add 8-2-10.pdf
  • Smart Home Family Application 8-2-10.doc
  • Smart Home Family Brief 8-2-10.pdf
  • Making a tender response to Smart Homes.doc
A house has been acquired in the Sydney suburb of Newington to be the Smart Home. It is being developed to be a ‘house of the future’ showcasing and testing new technologies to reduce household energy and water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

The house, like other Newington houses, was designed and built to minimise energy and
water requirements. The Newington Smart Home already has:
  • passive design features such as a northerly aspect, well placed trees, window glazing and insulation to reduce the need for heating and cooling appliances;
  • a 1kW solar power systems to supplement the home’s electricity supply;
  • grey water; and
  • a gas‐boosted solar hot water system. ...
The Newington Smart Village

The Newington Smart Village is being established as a trial by EnergyAustralia and Sydney Water. The Smart Village will use innovative energy and water management
technology to give 1,000 households in Newington and Silverwater the ability to reduce their environmental footprint and their household utility bills. This is a $10 million, two‐year program.

The Smart Village Program’s scope covers:
  • Next Generation Smart Meters ‐ 1,000 household electricity smart meters with two‐way communication will be installed as well as 1,000 water meters and 500 recycled water meters. This allows Sydney Water and EnergyAustralia to communicate with residents on household energy and water use via a one‐stop‐shop website or in‐house display.
  • Smart grid switches – New smart switches are being installed on the electricity network to give EnergyAustralia greater information and monitoring of the network, and of Smart Village energy use. It will also allow faster response to power outages.
  • Home Area Networks (HANs) in 100 homes ‐ This will allow smart appliance monitoring and control so households can remotely turn appliances on and off using iPhones (if they have them) or via a tailored website. This will help homes better control their energy use and equipment, running costs and greenhouse emissions.
  • In‐house displays and tailored household websites – This will give households real time information on energy and water use, cost, greenhouse impact. The website includes the ability to compare use and enter neighbourhood competitions.
  • Incentives to reduce energy use ‐ Households can choose to trial innovative incentive packages and products, such as bill rebates for reducing energy use below normal in peak times, and free use of electric vehicles.
  • Renewable energy solutions – will be added to the grid as part of the trial including energy storage solutions to offset peak electricity demand and renewable energy technologies such as fuel cells. Electric cars and car recharging connection points on the electricity grid will also be tested. ...
From: "Newington Smart Home Family -
Brief", EnergyAustralia, February 2010
Curiously, applicants have to apply via the Energy Australia E-Tendering Portal. The tendering system requires the entry of complex information and does not suit such a competition. The tendering process and documentation is more than is reasonable for a family to complete.

Unfortunately the demonstration smart home appears to be of the same time as previous failed smart home projects, including the iHome at Pyrmont in Sydney. These projects equip homes with computer operated controls which require an excessive amount of attention from the householder. Experience shows that the novelty of such systems wears off quickly. The householder does not want to know the power consumption of their home minute by minute or to be able to control appliances remotely. They want the systems to be autonomous: that is the appliances control themselves. In many cases a combination of computerised, simile electronic and mechanical controls are better than full automation. In the case of the Sydney iHome, the high technology systems were removed at the end of the trial, as they provided no useful service to the house holder. It therefore makes little sense to conduct another such trial of a failed approach to energy saving.

Also the competition process has problems it is using the system designed for companies to submit tenders, so that private citizens are instructed to pretend they are overseas companies, to avoid having to enter an Australian ABN. Instructing citizens to enter false information into a government tendering system would appear to be a bad precedent to set.
Details For Notice #ENERGY-447194

This tender is
· TenderLink Ref : ENERGY-447194
· Type of Notice : Request for Tender
· Region : New South Wales
· Contract Value : Not Specified
Closing Date/Time 22/02/2010 6:00 p.m. NSW

EnergyAustralia and Sydney Water are looking for a "Smart Home Family", including a resident writer, to occupy and write of their experiences in the Newington Smart Home located within the Newington Smart Village Project. A house is being developed to showcasing both current best practice and be a real life laboratory testing new technologies to reduce household energy and water use and greenhouse gas emissions. The Smart Home will be integrated with an intelligent electricity grid and its key objectives include:
  • To provide a feature location for education on sustainable energy and water usage, smart metering and publicising the Newington Smart Village trial;
  • To showcase and test 'best of breed' appliances and quantify the potential energy and water savings;
  • To demonstrate the opportunities and benefits of a Home Area Network (HAN) environment;
  • To explore alternative electricity supply and storage options, such as micro generation and battery storage technology; and
  • To showcase the use of an electric vehicle and monitor its charging patterns, and potential integration with the battery storage.
Smart Home Family will increase the educational benefits of the house through living and reporting on their experience. A full description of the project and requirements of the family is provided in the Smart Home Family brief.

From: #ENERGY-447194, EnergyAustralia, 2010


Tom Worthington said...

Nate Cochrane has written more on the smart home project in "Utilities seek Jetsons for home of the future" (IT News, Feb 9, 2010 12:59 PM). My blog posting gets a mention.

ellygmail said...

Hi Tom, you may be interested in the upcoming Smart Homes conference in Melbourne, November 5th (see www.smartutilities-ausnz.com) The programme includes many smart home pilot projects as well as recent customer research findings that may be relevant for you. Regards, Elly Kreijkes