Empowering Downtown Evansville's Renaissance With Smart Energy Technologies

Posted: Updated:

Downtown Evansville is undergoing a dramatic evolution, thanks in part to the state's Regional Cities Initiative, and a key contributor is the Post House - a $40 million mixed-use development that will include housing, retail and office space. However, the Post House has broader implications beyond supporting the downtown area's overall development landscape. It will serve as a "living laboratory" for smart energy research that can inform not only utilities' services but has the potential to affect the broader energy industry as a whole by accelerating the use of smart energy technologies and adapting the technology to consumers' needs.

Post House, with an anticipated groundbreaking date in August 2018, is being developed by Scannell Properties and Vectren Corp. (NYSE: VVC) is serving as the utility partner. The 150-unit development will consist of two primary buildings with a combined 160 kilowatts of solar on the rooftops, in addition to a combined total of 350 kWh of energy storage capacity, both residential and commercial scale. Five electric vehicle chargers will be on site for public and private use, and a variety of internet-connected devices - controlled by smartphone apps in many cases - for appliances, thermostats, refrigeration, lighting, and others. By including a load panel monitor, both Vectren Corp. and residents can observe the overall energy loads by apartment unit and determine the impacts of the energy efficiency features.

While the combination of technologies can certainly be valuable in driving down energy consumption within the development, the potential for Post House to provide insight for utility and service providers, technology providers, and research institutions is likely to have a greater overall impact on the energy industry and how consumers interact with these emerging technologies.

Vectren, as the utility evaluating the smart energy technologies, is always looking to the future of what our customers need from their energy provider. We will have a unique diversity of data from Post House on a variety of fuels, systems, mechanicals and connected devices to provide a "big picture" view of the energy systems and how to ultimately reduce costs, provide sustainable energy solutions, and address consumer needs.

But beyond our own exploration of energy consumption and efficiency, technology providers themselves can glean important information about how consumers interact with their devices. By understanding when and how customers use the smart devices to make behavioral changes in how they consume energy, technology providers can make adjustments to their tools to better serve customers and anticipate how they will be more likely to engage with them on a daily basis. Piloting their technologies at Post House provides a real-world environment to evaluate their tools.

Third party researchers are also involved in the Post House living laboratory to provide an unbiased assessment of the effectiveness of the technologies, such as whether there were actual cost savings achieved and determining what type of environment is needed to encourage optimal consumer interaction with the tools, therefore saving energy and reducing costs. By publishing the outcomes of their studies, the broader energy industry will be able to benefit from our learnings, which could lead to additional partnerships with other research firms, government institutions, and technology providers.

Of the greatest potential is Post House’s efforts to educate the residents themselves on how to reduce energy consumption and live in a more efficient home. Post House will have a unique demonstration space on the main floor of one of the buildings with a mock apartment and battery storage units to demonstrate how the different technologies can be used, how to use the different smart controls and to view their real-time energy consumption. By empowering residents with these tools, not only can they be smarter about their personal load on the grid, but they can be more mindful of their resources - both energy and cost-related.

Living learning laboratories are not only for individual companies or developers. While Vectren is keen on understanding how the future of the energy world is evolving, in order to have an effective impact on people and industry together, it's imperative to engage each of those parties in the research and education. Utilities, technology providers, researchers, and consumers themselves are all critical in establishing a best-in-class smart energy research hub that provides real value to the energy industry. And Evansville can put Indiana on the map of this leading-edge research.

  • Perspectives

    • (photo courtesy of Bosma Enterprises)

      Making a Difference Through Meaningful Employment

      Imagine facing a 70 percent unemployment rate. That is the challenge people who are blind or visually impaired are up against when trying to find employment. And it is why Bosma Enterprises' mission to create opportunities is so important. The Governor’s Council designates each March as Disability Awareness Month to promote independence, integration and inclusion of all people who have disabilities. As the state’s largest employer of people who are blind or...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • The Amazon Effect: How Big is The Economic Impact?

      Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, increased his net worth by $6.44 billion dollars just by saying a few words. He announced the company's earnings on October 26, 2017, and Amazon stock jumped 8 percent. How are you impacted by the Amazon Effect?

    • Jenni White

      Trinity Haven Hires First Employee

      Trinity Haven has named Jenni White executive director. She most recently served as vice president of mission impact at Coburn Place. White has also worked in various capacities with the Damien Center and Leadership Evansville. She is active with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Indianapolis Continuum of Care.

    • Photo courtesy of 410 Bakery

      Hoosier Bakery Makes Top 7 Gas Station Conversion List

      A Hoosier bakery has been recognized as one of “America’s 7 Most Beautiful Gas Station Conversions” by Architectural Digest. 410 Bakery in New Albany launched in 2016 as a full retail bakery in what was previously the Economy Filling Station. 

    • New Indiana State President Confirmed

      The Indiana State University Board of Trustees has unanimously approved Deborah Curtis as the school's 12th president. Curtis, currently the provost and chief learning officer at the University of Central Missouri, will begin her new role in January.

    • Bose Public Affairs Promotes Sorvig to VP

      Bose Public Affairs Group LLC has promoted Rachel Sorvig to vice president. She joined the firm in 2012 and most recently served as public relations director. Sorvig previously served as communications director for the office of Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, where she managed communications for the Lt. Governor’s office and five additional state agencies including those responsible for agriculture and energy policy.