Ford announced a strategic collaboration that will demonstrate how a typical American family can significantly reduce their electricity bills and CO2 footprint by integrating home appliance technology with a plug-in vehicle to achieve an energy-efficient lifestyle.
The Ford-led MyEnergi Lifestyle collaboration – comprised of leaders in the home appliance, renewable energy and power management industries – 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.
Specifically, MyEnergi Lifestyle showcases how combining renewable energy generation with “time-flexible” loads optimizes energy consumption across a plug-in vehicle and home appliances.
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 percent reduction in energy costs and more than 9,000 kg of CO2 (55 percent reduction) saved from a single home. If every home in the U.S. 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).
To create a real-world example of how attainable, affordable and convenient a sustainable lifestyle can be, MyEnergi Lifestyle collaborators also announce plans to award a typical American family with delivery and installation of energy-saving products from each company, along with other leading energy-efficient products. All contest and promotion details will be included in a separate announcement soon.
The average American home uses more than 11,000 kWh of electricity a year, but with recent technology advancements in our appliances, a family can use energy smarter and more efficiently.
Driving change: Technology trends
A plug-in vehicle is the largest electrified product most people will ever buy, and it serves as a catalyst for adoption of products that reduce CO2 and save money. Recent advancements in several technologies make this an ideal time to demonstrate the benefits that can be achieved by optimizing a home energy footprint.
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
– Efficient, reliable and affordable rooftop solar systems enable families to generate renewable energy and save money on utility bills
– Connected devices enable smarter use of energy
In addition to the energy benefits directly received from the latest product offerings of Ford, Eaton, SunPower and Whirlpool, the widespread deployment of smart meters (now in more than 40 million homes across the U.S.) enables households to take advantage of off-peak rates.
Utilities turning to 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. Therefore, a family can reduce their CO2 footprint even further by off-peak electricity usage.
Value charging in MyEnergi Lifestyle
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. Value charging is a unique feature that harnesses the power of cloud computing to automatically charge the vehicle when utility rates are lowest, thus helping to minimize the cost to charge the vehicle and the potential ownership costs of an electric vehicle.
Drivers just need to 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.