The future of renewable energy is making it look cool

The future of renewable energy is making it look cool


(calm music) – Remember the Jetsons? They had gadgets galore from holograms to a robotic maid, but they also probably had
an astronomical electric bill as well as a massive carbon footprint. That’s still an issue for
our own home of the future, but unlike the Jetsons, we’re actually using some
of that cutting edge tech to solve it. (light music) As homeowners of the future we’ll have more ability to
monitor our energy consumption. But before we get to that, let’s talk about where
that energy’s coming from, because the home of the
future will always need power. We built our home to generate
a lot of its own power from solar panels installed
on the carport roof. In fact, the solar panels
are the carport roof. – It’s an integral part of their house architecturally, and that
was part of the design of the house from the beginning. – [Grant] Stan Pipkin is the
owner of Lighthouse Solar here in Austin, which specializes in
integrated solar design. – [Stan] When Carter put up
panels on the white house (laughter) nobody liked ’em because they were big, they were bulky, they stood out. – But these are something
entirely different. – [Stan] This gives
architects something to go wild with. (upbeat music) – [Grant] If you look around Austin, this is very different
than most solar retrofits that have the panels tacked onto the roof. Our solar installation is deliberately and artfully designed, made to feel like a
natural, essential part of the house itself. – I think the whole industry understands, it’s silly to sorta slap
solar on top of the building. Why not make the building
electricity generating itself? – [Grant] This is Katharine Beisner, an expert in solar technology. – People are definitely trying
to make the solar panels better looking. It’s still by and large in residential, putting solar on top of a roof. Now a lot of them look
like just gorgeous black flat screen TVs and it’s very low-profile. And I suspect we’ll see
a lot of these products in the future. (upbeat music) – [Grant] Here’s how the
system actually works. – Each one of those squares
individually is a solar cell. They produce, collectively, DC power that flows to the inverter. And then it’s changed to AC power and that’s what the house can run on. – And any energy not used by the house flows into a lithium ion battery. So, let’s say a homeowner installs solar. Does that make them
impervious from a blackout? – So, unless you have a
system that can island away from the grid, or
basically a microgrid, your solar system will not
help you during a power outage. – So here in our home of the future, we have a battery. And so, we’re prepared for a blackout. – That’s right. So, this is a really special home, you have energy storage that’s
wired to your critical loads and if there’s a blackout, you can pull that energy
to power your home. (gentle music) – This array, it’ll produce
enough energy to power say, 60% of their needs on a given day. It varies by clouds, season, shade. – I think for the house of the future, we probably want that
to be more like, 100%. Is it possible to scale the array? – Absolutely. The nice thing about solar, it’s modular. So, they can live in the house
and then scale appropriately over the first year.
– Right. – And so now we’re
empowering them will tools to actually manage their house. – [Grant] Which brings us
to our energy monitoring. Our smart home integrator,
Pete Sandford of Smarter Homes, has given us the ability
to see a real time readout of the energy usage of our home. – We just jumped from
900 watts to 4700 watts. That jump is gonna tell me somebody just turned
on the air conditioning and it gives you the idea of, wow that’s how much energy I’m using. – Wow. We’ve put a lot of effort
into designing our solar array and our energy storage
system into the house to meet the majority of our needs. On the other hand, all
of our tech in this house is probably gonna consume a lot of energy. – You’d think so, but
a lot of these devices are Energy Star rated, and they’re considered low voltage items. Your real energy hogs
are gonna be you know, your non-LED lights, your air
conditioners, the hot water. So, here I’ve brought the
control pad for my home. – [Grant] Does that say 875 watts? – Yeah, when we started we were
between 14 and 16,000 watts. We worked really hard to get it that low. So let’s go in and turn
on some air conditioners, and then that way you
can kinda get an idea of the spike as well, so watch. Downstairs, we’ll go ahead
and drop that down to 70. Upstairs. And let’s go back and see
how that’s gonna affect our energy.
– Wow. – This is pretty instantaneous – Yeah.
– As far as our reading goes. It’s already jumped up to 7241. So at our house, we loved what we did, we saw our new bill. So we contacted Austin Energy and we got this data from them. So, this is before we automated. – [Grant] Okay. – And then, here’s after. And it looks dramatic just as it is, but if you look at the scale. These spikes are during our laundry times and our shower times. And it really enabled us to
program our air conditioners to where they weren’t
just kickin’ on all day. So, this is what you would do with solar. So, you know, we hear a
lot of solar companies say, oh this is gonna cover 60% of your usage, but how would they know? So, having something like this
when you’d be able to have the data.
– Right. – [Pete] To support the
value of having solar. – You know, seeing this
energy usage laid out right in front of you is a very eye-opening experience because normally you
just use your appliances and you don’t think how
much it’s costing you. But once you see this, the incentive is to game-ify it to see how much you can save. – Everybody, the kids, likes
to see that number low. It’s almost like it turns
into a mini-obsession. One of ’em was like,
“we’re down to 450 watts,” and I was like, that’s the
lowest we’ve ever been. You win. – It’s like a new high score. – Yeah, exactly. New low score.
– New low score. (laughs) (upbeat music) – I think that becoming more aware of our energy usage is the first step. Not only will homes of
the future be smarter about how they use energy, but they’ll make us more
aware of how our actions influence that usage. And even for those just passing by, the house acts a billboard
for a renewable future. Thanks so much for watching me explore the energy needs and abilities in this home of the future. Now I’m wondering, how
would you power yours? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll see you next
with a brand new episode.

100 thoughts on “The future of renewable energy is making it look cool

  1. Does anyone know what app they are using to see the electrical consumption? Looking for something that can help me manage my power intake, and control my smart devices like hue lights and thermostat.

  2. I mean some of the inside tech is really cool, the solar power is cool, definitely something of the future. But, its a prefab home made out of… wood and plywood? hardly futuristic. I mean readymade homes have been a thing for literally decades. This is just a regular box made out of wood with regular, energy heavy AC and a couple solar panels

  3. at 0.33 it shows the total power consumption 6398.143Kw/h how in hell is that power efficient?????? even if u use solar panels u need 6398/o.85 means u need almost 7600 wp on solarpower if 1 panel gives 200 wp u need 38 panels how and where u gonna put those ??? looks nice but the power consumption woud bankrupt ppl .

  4. I would be interested to know what application is being run to view and control the home's appliances and energy usage. I've built my own Net-Zero home and can monitor my energy consumption and generation using Enphase Envoy, but not in real-time and I can only see the home as a whole, not individual appliance usage. The best I can see is in 15 minute increments.

  5. This is wonderful. kindly can this be done in African country……….especially Kenya? need one like of three bedroom

  6. This all looks rather wonderful.  But, What does this 'Home of the Future' cost?  Just for the foundation and basic shell as shown in Part One.   Cost is the key component of any Homeowners budget.   And, yes I now there is the site, utilities, permits and the like which varies with every home.

  7. These affordable homes are great. but, they don't make room for the car, which is another big-ticket item that needs protection from the elements. Could the carport be closed in for the garage, or could a garage be added on when the house is in place?

  8. It all looks good on paper but wanting to stay comfortable is going to cost energy and there's no way around it with the current approach. Hot water, a/c, heat, and cooking are the major energy consumers and that's not going to change without major scientific inventions/improvements.
    Ceiling, wall, and floor insulation needs to be greatly improved in the average home but home construction is not paying attention to this area in a major way. There are some products that can improve this but not to a major degree since the cost/savings ratio is not that great.
    LED bulbs can lower costs but there's the initial cost, which at this time is still expensive, and lighting is one of the lower energy consumers.

  9. I would like to see a solar water tank heater (without solar cells, just the heat of the sun) they're fking efficient and dont require batteries. A fridge with a screen….really? Many "homes of the future" are portrayed like this, full of cool products, so is more like home of the coroporatios. That's not the future I want to live, full of unnecesary stuff and batteries. An energy efficient home is smart with the materials, windows, sun orientation, and things like air conditioner are not necessary. Maybe a simplier, smarter home with tecnology in the right places is the home of the future.

  10. Please don't just say "an expert in solar technology" it'd be nice to hear one or two credentials or affiliations please

  11. i certainly would have a F150 TRUCK for my future home… geez couldn't you get them to sponsor an electric vehicle at least?

  12. Hybrid electricity? Why not run all lighting, fans, and everything that can be run directly on DC instead of wasting a third of it in using expensive inverters. Next, use AC for energy intensive devices like ovens and HVAC?

  13. Would be nice to see an electric car in the drive and highlight how those solar panels can charge the car. Ford F150 is a gas guzzler with lots of poisonous emissions – a vehicle of the PAST.

  14. Why only do the roof of what would be a shelter for the vehicle why wasn’t the whole roof made from solar panels

  15. have fun clearing leaves and stuff falling off those trees onto the solar panels which are also blocking half the sunlight, one tree branch dropping on there and it's gone. and the panels fitted together are also not water tight, rain will easily fall right through and down onto your car, the panels are not mounted at enough of an angle for rain and leaves to slide off.

    Also, the house is far from energy efficient with that many big windows, heating and cooling costs will be massive. the air-conditioning draws 6kw of power as input, just how massive is the air-con that's needed to cool that small house?

  16. @5:50 This will ultimately be the game changer. We all have smartphones and all of this is basically incorporated into an app already. When young HS students sharing a condo have access to this kind of energy usage display they will certainly use energy wisely and care a lot where this energy is coming from. Not necessarily for the good of the planet (although you'd hope it would be) but for the good of their wallet. As far as the Ford F-150 is concerned, I hope it is enjoying its soon to be squashed dominance of the market. Rivian and Tesla will eat Ford's lunch very soon.

  17. The methods of "green energy" are all so incredibly inefficient and fraught with problems that the only way they can in ANY way be brought to bear is with incredible amounts of government subsidies – DIRECT subsidies, not tax credits.
    My wife and I have an electric car – which we love by the way – but the Porsche and Lexus get used any time we are going out of town. The infrastructure fully exists to support them – not so with the electric.

    And the wind/solar adherents? Much better you go with hydro-electric. But liberals have been killing those plans for decades too. And the water conserved instead of just going in the oceans was also be a boon to mankind.

  18. The roof of the house at least should be white to reflect any light not being absorbed by the solar panels, not only will this cool down the house, reducing a bit of the AC needed, but also make up for the melting ice caps that were reflecting light before. The more light reflected, the cooler the earth becomes, which means more white ice will form, and reflect more light, and so on and so forth.

  19. Thanks to YouTube I built a 3 Kw 48v system that provided my family with power 24 hrs/day during Hurricane María in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. I wired two power outlets separated from the house so it was simple and not dangerous doing it that way.

  20. Internet refrigerators were a fad in the late 90's which turned out to be a commercial failure. I'm surprised they tried it a second time.

  21. LOL…I have built two net zero homes of the future 10 and 5 years ago that are both solar powered. I am grid tied to share my surplus, but I live with any luxury one really needs, and the homes are ICF and built to stand up to the strongest winds with no worries and last millennia. All you need is the will to do it, and I am not a millionaire by any means.

  22. could the windows be made of double pane glass with an inert gas between them, or use Lexan for the panes. Lexan does not transmit heat through it as easily as glass.

  23. Li-ion battery? Pfft, how primitive. Plus those batteries would need to be replaced every 5 years. And that's an expensive thing to replace. Plus lithium mining is not environmentally friendly.

    I'd power my future home with a mini nuclear fusion reactor that's well shielded and inconspicuous.

  24. i see tons of office job people talking about a f-150…i guess they do not know what a truck was built for. trade skills

  25. There is a massive contradiction here with regards to energy efficiency if you are going to own that massive fuel guzzling Ford, where is the Tesla.

  26. That smart home stuff is a scam. You install everything on an Ipad that ONLY the company can program and so when you want to connect a device to your home, you would have to call the company. The way to make money today, is by unnecessary subscriptions.

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