Verizon has teamed up with consumer-energy research organization Pecan Street Inc., to launch a new program that will conduct a unique home-energy research trial, called the Smart Solutions for Affordable Housing program.
For many households, the cost of residential energy remains unaffordable. According to data presented by the U.S. Energy Information Association in 2012, the average household spends $1,945 annually on heating, cooling, appliances, electronics and lighting. Households with the lowest 20 percent of income spent nearly 6 percent of their income on energy bills. For these families, lack of adequate energy can worsen health conditions, lead to the removal of vulnerable members from the household, or contribute to homelessness.
Helping underserved communities manage energy use
Funded through a cash grant from Verizon, the partnership with Pecan Street will use Verizon Wireless' network and 4G LTE routers, which will serve as the backbone for the wireless devices Verizon is donating. The energy management solution will be donated to 140 volunteer households in Austin, with the assistance of Foundation Communities and Wildflower Terrace, which provide affordable housing opportunities.
Residents will receive real-time information and guidance on their energy consumption, electric bills and the condition of the appliances and heating and cooling systems in their apartments. Such information should help participating customers cut their energy costs and procure the long-term benefits of a low-carbon economy.
Integrating advanced technology and energy research
"Verizon and Pecan Street share a commitment to using big data and the latest advanced technologies to help residents protect their family finances, be more comfortable in their homes and improve the environment," said Pecan Street CEO Brewster McCracken. "We are very excited to integrate Verizon's wireless technology into the groundbreaking research we are conducting across the country."
Pecan Street has already begun recruiting volunteer households from four multifamily buildings, and it has started installation of home-energy monitoring systems that provide real-time, circuit-level and whole-home electricity information to customers and researchers. The results of this research will provide valuable benefits to the families in the project and to organizations providing services that affect families' energy bills.
Verizon's commitment to energy management
Verizon and its employees and its services are at the heart of efficient and impactful energy solutions for a greener future for businesses, consumers and society. Verizon is helping to provide solutions for the energy and utility industry—from playing a role in clean energy to helping energy companies securely, reliably, safely and cost effectively collect and distribute oil and gas to the market.