With the high-speed development of IC(Integrated Circuit) and wireless communication technology, people can use mobile phone to message, search for information and complete their tasks. With the penetration of WiFi and great bandwidth, it helps the surge of The Internet of Things. Companies launch smart home appliances with sensors or chips in it, which would also differentiate with competitors. Together, this builds smart home industry, now even comes with Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Homepod, this is becoming the hotspot.
I believe smart home will turn household use of energy upside down. Home energy users will transform from energy consumers to energy producers.
From Consumers to Producers
The EU regulates that all public buildings and new buildings should reach the standard of Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) by 2018 and 2020 respectively (Note 1). The United States Department of Energy (DOE) also regulates that new commercial buildings should reach the same standard by 2030, and 50 percent of commercial by 2040, 100 percent by 2050.
I agree by setting up regulation, it will help to boost the relative industries. And I also believe that NZEB will also be the first smart homes. Furthermore, smart home will go beyond NZEB, it will become a business model, for every household to sell power and make money from it. There are three key reasons,
- energy consumption in households is far less than public buildings and commercial buildings
- the efficiency of both household solar PV system, wind power generating system and energy storage system has improved
- smart home appliance are energy efficient, and with the connectivity to other devices, household can offload peak demand of energy use with the power plant. With the rooftop solar power generating system, household can even sell the electricity back to the grid.
When I joined the solar industry in 2008, the polysilicon solar cell efficiency was about 15%. At that time, a report from Germany pointed out that as long as we can find six of squares which its length as Taiwan’s, and we cover that area with solar panels, we will be able to supply all electricity we need for all human beings. By the time I left in 2012, the solar cell efficiency had reached to 17.5%. This improvement is one sixth of the original 15%. That means we can now only use 5 of the squares to meet our demand. Together with micro inverters, rooftop solar power generation systems has become the first priority government choose to promote.
From a broader view, as the electric vehicle technology matures, the growth of electric vehicles is expected in 3 to 5 years. The batteries replaced from the electric vehicles can later be reused on rooftop solar PV system. This is also the concept of Powerwall, a product of Tesla.
Future of smart appliances
Because of its networking capabilities, not only can smart appliances provide a more comfortable home environment, it can also exchange information with home power management hub to optimize household power usage. The smart socket and power extension products produced by FamilyAsyst provides functions of manual power usage scheduling. In the future, the household power management hub will enable smart socket to cooperate with power extension line equipment, save standby power of household appliance. Families can also save electricity generated by household power system and sell back electricity to electricity grid. Therefore, smart air conditioning, smart appliances, network-controlled electric such as rolling shutter, windows and doors can work together with the management hub to strike a balance between comfort and energy consumption.
Energy saving starts from oneself
There was an old saying in an article in Liji, Da Xue, "The persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy." The article is not only for practitioners, the same principles also applies to the field of energy. Oneself starts with energy conservation, then achieving zero energy consumption of their family, which in turn fulfilling the goal of country energy independence. Ultimately, we can help other countries to achieve their energy independence. I invest in this future, are you with me?
Net Zero Energy Building: a building with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site, or in other definitions by renewable energy sources elsewhere. (NZEB)