Georgia and her partner Ben outside their new terrace home at Carseldine in Brisbane's north.

Pre-cooling will reduce emissions and reduce electricity bills. Here’s how some homes use new technologies

Like many first-home buyers, Georgia’s priority was price and location – it’s just a coincidence that her new home is rigged with technology that’s yet to enter the market and innovations that will save them thousands.

The 25-year-old is the second person to move to the northern Brisbane village of Carseldine, with her home so advanced that it is being designed as a “living laboratory”.

Construction is still underway for most of the 182-home complex, but it will soon become the nation’s first-owned neighborhood that will be powered by 100 percent solar and battery power.

While new in itself, the Georgia home is one of the smartest in the country.

His home is at the forefront of pre-cooling technology, which will reduce carbon emissions and energy costs, while reducing the load on the grid for the evening peak.

The air conditioner in the house can communicate with the power grid and will be set up to allow automated pre-cooling, yet to be seen in Australia.

Georgia’s shower habits are also stored by the home app, so that in winter or when there isn’t much solar, her battery is charged at the lowest price.

It is esteemed that the Georgia home will have net zero energy emissions and will save at least $ 1,600 per year on electricity.

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The first stop of Carseldine Village is complete, with two more stops to come.

Since moving in May, Georgia has said she has found herself addicted to tracking her solar through her mobile app.

An electricity bill has not yet arrived, but he believes it will be $ 100 for the quarter and that it is only for the “daily usage fee” to be connected to the grid.

“I work in the infrastructure and we work a lot on net-zero developments,” he said.

“It’s pretty cool to be able to tell my colleagues ‘my home is off the grid’.

“We didn’t have to do anything. It was all included as part of the build package.”

Georgia collects some herbs in her kitchen in her new.
Georgia moved into her new home in May.(ABC News: Kym Agius)

Living laboratory

Georgia and 24 other homeowners under development are part of a separate pilot program to see if they could save even more energy and money by using a home energy management system.

The system, developed by CSIRO, is cloud-based and can communicate with Georgia’s solar power, battery, air conditioning, and power grid.

It means he can automate the supply and production of energy via his mobile phone, to make the most of daytime solar energy and take advantage of cheaper electricity rates.

In addition, the electric generator can communicate with his appliances to pre-cool his home or turn off his air conditioner if there is a risk of a blackout.

Georgia checks her app to see if it is
Georgia checks her app to see if it’s “offline”.(ABC News: Kym Agius)

Prove that “net zero” mass life is possible

Georgia bought the two-story terrace, on a 167m2 block, because at $ 530,000 it was between $ 70,000 and $ 120,000 less than similar homes he was looking at.

Headshot Brooke Walters, project manager at Economic Development Queensland.
Brooke Walters, project manager at Economic Development Queensland.(ABC News: Kym Agius)

The Village was born from an idea of ​​the State Government’s Economic Development Queensland (EDQ), which decided to demonstrate that net energy emissions equal to zero living was not only feasible, but within everyone’s reach, including first home buyers.

Brooke Walters, EDQ’s project manager, said owners could save $ 1,600 per year on electricity bills, but that figure was calculated before energy prices went up and does not take into account the software platform.

Ms Walters said she estimated the platform could save the homeowner an additional 27%, but this figure should be confirmed through a long-term study.

“It’s not just solar and battery, but having the ownership titled homes and no companies, we have estimated that over the next 10 years, people should save about $ 30,000,” he said.

“This is a demonstration that it can be done. This is the future. Each home saves about 5 tons of carbon emissions per year.”

Each terrace is owned and has its own walls, with an empty space visible between the houses seen here.
Each terrace is owned and has its own walls.(ABC News: Kym Agius)

Air conditioning of the future

The 25 houses that use the software platform also have an air conditioner that has yet to arrive on the market.

The air conditioner has a cloud-based control system prototype from Japan that can communicate with the system’s cloud and Energex.

The components have only been used in commercial air conditioning and is a world first for use in homes.

Brooke Walters of Economic Development Queensland with new air conditioning technology.
The air conditioner has a cloud-based control system prototype.(ABC News: Kym Agius)

The system can predict the external weather, knows the internal temperature and the solar and battery energy available. From this dataset, it can be automated to pre-cool homes early in the day when solar power is in abundance.

This reduces costs for the householder and the demand on the electricity grid during the afternoon and evening peaks.

“As this is a prototype, the features and specifications of the current hardware require further refinement to make it cost-effective and include it in the external drive and this will take time to develop,” said Ms. Walters.

“This is pure research and development.

Georgia and Ben outside their new terrace at Carseldine Village.
Georgia and Ben are enjoying the state-of-the-art technologies of their new terrace at Carseldine Village.(ABC News: Kym Agius)

“But this is the future of air conditioning. I don’t know how many years it will be, maybe five”.

Research on brown outs

The technology allows the energy grid to send signals over the Internet to shut down air conditioners in the event of an energy crisis.

During the study, several scenarios will be tested in which a signal will be sent to the cloud requiring homes to export energy from their solar battery. The energy company can then understand the demand placed on the grid and make better decisions to ensure a reliable and cost-effective energy supply.

Georgia next to its solar battery
Georgia has a solar battery in her home which saves her more than $ 1,000 every year.(ABC News: Kym Agius)

“It’s like a power plant going down, or a substation going down, that has the ability to respond with emergency generation from people’s homes,” Ms. Walters said.

“This is the future, where you can tap into multiple sources or storage and generation, with the heads of families rewarded financially.

“It could avoid brown outs or potential blackouts.”

The living room of one of the terraced houses.
Homes are at the forefront of pre-cooling technology.(Included: Carseldine Village)

Queensland University of Technology associate professor Wendy Miller will oversee the study for the next two years.

He wants to determine the difference between having efficient, solar and battery-operated appliances, as well as how much energy is saved through the use of a home management system.

QUT will measure how much solar energy Georgia and other participants generate, how much energy they use for their hot water system, air conditioning, and how much their battery is charged and discharged.

“This has never been done before,” he said.

“If at the family level, we can try to maximize households to have enough solar energy to meet their entire load, even during the day, it saves an excessive supply of solar energy in the middle of the day.”

Close-up of the face of Matt Burness of Vantage Homes.
Matt Burness of Vantage Homes.(Provided)

Vantage Homes is one of two companies working on the project.

General manager Matthew Burness said the added insulation and energy-efficient glazing of the house meant it passed the house’s 7-star energy rating.

“The houses are affordable, also thanks to the small batch of terraced housing and the previous planning and implementation of 100% solar energy,” he said.

“So you get some economy of scale and a good supply price, and then also put provisions like the electric vehicle charger which isn’t a huge cost when done at the construction stage.

“They are trying to push the boundaries on what will be the standard in the future.”

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