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Ford MyEnergi Lifestyle collaboration to demonstrate integration of home appliance technology, plug-in vehicle and renewable energy source; Georgia Tech model predicts 60% cut in home energy costs
8 January 2013
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford Motor Company announced a strategic collaboration that will demonstrate the integration of home appliance technology, plug-in vehicle and a renewable energy source to achieve an energy-efficient lifestyle. Specifically, MyEnergi Lifestyle showcases how combining renewable energy generation with “time-flexible” loads optimizes energy consumption across a plug-in vehicle and home appliances.
The Ford-led MyEnergi Lifestyle collaboration includes Eaton, SunPower and Whirlpool. Additional featured companies include semiconductor provider Infineon and Nest Labs, with its latest learning thermostat represented in the research and implementation phase of the collaboration.
Ford and its business associates worked with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to create a computer model that calculates the electricity usage of a typical single family in their home for one year and the associated savings with moving to an energy-efficient lifestyle.
The cumulative results predict a 60% reduction in energy costs and more than 9,000 kg of CO2 (55% reduction) saved from a single home. If every home in the US were to implement these energy-saving technologies, it would be the equivalent of taking all the homes in California, New York and Texas off the power grid (32 million homes).
MyEnergi Lifestyle collaborators also plan a contest to award an American family with delivery and installation of energy-saving products from each company, along with other leading energy-efficient products.
Key factors driving MyEnergi Lifestyle include:
Electric vehicles, like the all-new Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, are more efficient and can charge during the low-cost electricity hours.
Appliance efficiency has improved dramatically over the past decade.
Hot water heaters are more efficient and use nighttime electricity.
Connected appliances can use less energy during peak periods.
The Nest Learning Thermostat programs itself and automatically saves energy when a homeowner is away.
Rooftop solar systems enable families to generate renewable energy and save money on utility bills.
Connected devices enable smarter use of energy.
The widespread deployment of smart meters (now in more than 40 million homes across the US) enables households to take advantage of off-peak rates.
Most of today’s residential electrical load on the grid occurs in the daytime hours. Electrical utilities need to ensure this daytime peak demand load does not exceed their supply capacity. Consequently, utilities in many parts of the country offer reduced energy rates for off-peak usage as a way to incentivize customers to shift their usage patterns to nighttime or early-morning hours. Discounted off-peak hours are typically between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. Off-peak pricing is normally around half as much as on-peak, but peak pricing can be as much as 10 times higher than off-peak in some parts of the country.
Examples of household electrical loads that could be shifted to off-peak hours via an automated or controlled mobile app include charging a plug-in vehicle, running a dishwasher, running a hot water heater, running the refrigerator’s defrost cycle and ice-making.
Additionally, data from electric utilities indicate their power generation mix is based on a higher percentage of clean/renewable energy sources during off-peak hours—i.e., a family could reduce its CO2 footprint even further by off-peak electricity usage.
Ford’s own off-peak electric usage technology—value charging—is available on all Ford plug-in vehicles, including C-MAX Energi, Fusion Energi and Focus Electric, via the MyFord Mobile app.
Drivers enable a single setting in the app and then plug their cars in without worrying about what time the rates change in their area. The network monitors utility rate schedules and automatically transmits a signal to the vehicle through embedded cellular connectivity to start charging at the lowest cost.
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