How builders can make homes ‘energy smart’ for a Net Zero world

New-build housing to illustrate energy smart solutions for home builders
Home builders in the 2020s face a suite of interwoven mega-trends that are changing the building game. Net Zero for carbon emissions. Electrify everything. The rise of electric vehicles, which need charging. Distributed energy resources including rooftop solar and batteries. Smart home technologies. Sustainability rankings and reporting. So what’s the solution?

Making homes ‘energy smart’ from day one can help builders and home occupants alike.

Think about it. 

No one would buy a new car without a fuel gauge, or these days a battery readout if it’s an electric vehicle (EV); plus a speed dial and an odometer. 

People need to know in real time when to refill the fuel tank, or recharge the battery, and when to slow down or speed up, and how far they’ve travelled. 

They also need to know how fast and far their home is running too, and what it’s costing them.

Especially when it comes to the primary energy source for most households. That’s the electricity we use to power our homes – with dozens, or even hundreds, of electronic devices, appliances and other equipment including lighting and heating/cooling. 

While they may not always see its value until they experience it, new householders will appreciate moving into a new home that from day one can tell them how it is using electricity.

In the internet age, full of intelligent devices and apps that support everyday lifestyles, people can justifiably expect more ‘smarts’ from their home – which for most is the biggest investment they will ever make. 

Enter the Energy Smart Ready Home … which allows home builders to present a truly energy-smart, future-ready product that:

  • Puts the home’s comprehensive electricity data on the internet, displaying on smartphones, tablets or computers, providing deep insights into performance, costs, carbon emissions, power quality including voltage fluctuations, and more
  • Shows homeowners exactly how much electricity they are using in real-time, and also over time by maintaining an easy-to-search historical record
  • Supports them to buy electricity better, save energy (and therefore money) by being more efficient, and to use power at less expensive times of the day
  • Opens up more smart energy/smart home opportunities, including customer options to monitor their generation as well if they have rooftop solar, or to upgrade if they don’t; to plan and prepare for the EV transition; to remotely control appliances like air-conditioning systems and pool pumps; and to connect with home automation and smart-home features
  • Provides the builder with data-rich, highly-granular measurement and verification of how the homes they build – and the energy-related features they include – perform, both in real-time and over time.

Householders now have more choices than ever before in terms of where they can get their energy from, how they use it and what they pay for the privilege – so detailed, easily accessible data can make a big difference to informing them as consumers.

From the day an occupant moves in, and activates their Energy Smart Ready Home, they’ll be able to:

  • See how fast they are going energywise (for electricity)
  • Save money by making simple behaviour changes for energy efficiency, and making informed investments in low-energy appliances
  • Participate fully in the new era for energy and keep pace with more change still to come, including ‘all electric’ homes and EVs – saving money, with improved quality of life, and it’s better for the environment too. 

The potential lifestyle benefits of smart home energy management, as an upfront inclusion in the switchboards of new-build homes and apartments, extend beyond cutting costs, reducing emissions and optimising investments like rooftop solar.

For example, Energy Consumers Australia’s Power Shift Housing Summit several years ago featured deep-dive research highlighting the multiple beneficial impacts of household energy efficiency, including health and well-being. 

By equipping a ready-to-go Energy Smart Ready Home, builders and property groups can help their end customers, the owners and occupants, to be job-ready to make the best of today’s increasingly multi-faceted energy marketplace.

More data helps owners and occupants to prepare for future change as well; while at the same time the builders can gain unprecedented insights into how the homes they build actually perform on the path to Net Zero.

NEED MORE INFORMATION? Wattwatchers is already being used by a number of leading home builders and property groups, including for affordability, sustainability and Net Zero showcase projects. We support a wide range of hardware and software solutions to make new-build homes energy smart – cost-effectively, and with multiple layers of value being created from the upfront investment. We also have retrofit options. Contact our solution specialists if you’d like to learn more.

A lot can happen in a day when it comes to household electricity use, especially if homes are generating their own clean energy from rooftop solar, then charging an EV from the sun. SOURCE: Wattwatchers MyEnergy app.