Trying to lower your utility bill? Maybe it's time you talked to a motor company -- Ford is on the warpath to reduce energy consumption. In a collaborative effort with SunPower Eaton and Whirlpool Ford is trying to show the world how it can drastically lower its electricity bills through the use of technology. The effort is called MyEnergi Lifestyle, and according to a model cooked up by the Georgia Institute of Technology, its energy-saving tricks could reduce the energy costs of an average single family home by as much as 60-percent. If every home in the U.S. got with the program, Ford explains, it would be like taking every home in California, New York and Texas off the grid.
The team's ideas incorporate a wide range of technology -- though much of it works around using utilities during off-peak hours. Dishwashers and water heaters that are programmed to do most of their high energy tasks at night, for instance, or Ford's Value charging system, which leverages a cloud database to charge electric vehicles when utility rates are at their lowest. Solar power and other renewable energy sources can augment off-peak use too, further reducing energy costs.
For now, it's a lot of talk and computer models -- but the companies involved are ready to put their money where their mouths are. In order to create a real-world model, MyEnergi Lifestyle is planning to launch a contest awarding one lucky family an energy efficient home makeover. Details on the promotion haven't been announced yet, but winners would presumably be outfit with enough technology to recreate the Georgia Institute of Technology's model on a real power bill. The team plans to showcase some of its ideas at CES throughout the week, but you can get the gist of it now by skimming the press release after the break.
Ford, Eaton, SunPower and Whirlpool Team Up for Electric Energy Initiative
Ford launches MyEnergi Lifestyle® collaboration to show how a typical American family can significantly reduce their electricity bills and CO2 footprint by integrating today's home appliance and plug-in vehicle technology
Georgia Institute of Technology computer model predicts a 60 percent reduction in energy costs and savings of more than 9,000 kg of CO2 (55 percent reduction) from a single home when changes from a MyEnergi Lifestyle product are incorporated; 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)
Ford and its business associates will highlight MyEnergi Lifestyle technologies and detailed modeling results at the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 8-12
LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today announces 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 (NYSE: ETN), SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR) and Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR). Additional featured companies include semiconductor provider Infineon (FSE: IFX / OTCQX: IFNNY) 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).
Additional results from the Georgia Tech computer model, including in-depth associate product savings, will be revealed at Ford's display during the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 8-12.
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.
"More than ever, cars are sharing the same energy source as the home," says Mike Tinskey, global director of Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure, Ford Motor Company. "The time is right for the home appliance and transportation sectors to converge if we are going to tackle a myriad of sustainability challenges in a rapidly changing world."
The average American home uses more than 11,000 kWh of electricity a year, says Warwick Stirling, global director for Energy and Sustainability, Whirlpool Corporation. "But with recent technology advancements in our appliances, a family can use energy smarter and more efficiently," he adds.
"SunPower is offering Ford plug-in vehicle owners the world's most efficient solar power systems to ensure they maximize emission-free power generation for use at home and for their vehicles," says Ken Fong, SunPower general manager, Americas. "SunPower systems offer the industry's best warranty, so homeowners can count on 25 years or more of clean power to support their sustainability goals and generate significant annual savings on their electricity bills."
"As innovation in home electrical technology advances, so does the need for safe, reliable and efficient power distribution," says Joanne Edwards, vice president and general manager, Residential Division, Eaton. "At the same time, giving homeowners the tools to tap into the details of distributed power for their homes allows them to modify their behavior and further reduce energy consumption."
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.
Ford is the only automaker to offer the value charging feature and is working with other companies to allow access to its proprietary database of utility rates – thus enabling similar value charging functionality to all representative associate products.
The power of choice
Value charging is just one example of the efficiency Ford's new electrified vehicles can provide owners. The all-new Ford C-MAX Energi is highlighted in MyEnergi Lifestyle and is America's most fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid with an EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 100 MPGe combined rating – 5 MPGe better than Toyota Prius plug-in. C-MAX Energi is America's most affordable plug-in hybrid with a starting price of $29,995, after a federal tax credit and including destination and delivery costs.
C-MAX Energi is part of Ford's overall strategy to give customers the power of choice for leading fuel economy across the lineup. Ford will offer eight vehicles that deliver 40 mpg or better in 2013 – more than any other automaker. This includes six all-new electrified vehicles – three hybrids and three plug-in vehicles.
Ford's new electrified vehicles are equipped with innovative technologies that are designed to help win over both novice and experienced hybrid owners while giving them coaching tools to be more efficient drivers.
SmartGauge® with EcoGuide, for example, provides in-vehicle customizable displays, including instantaneous fuel economy readings and coaching functions to help drivers understand and optimize their fuel efficiency.
EV+ combines the built-in GPS of Ford SYNC® with proprietary software algorithms developed by Ford engineers to learn frequent destinations. As a result, vehicles give drivers more drive time in electric-only mode.
EV mode allows a driver to switch vehicle operation between three modes: all-electric, normal hybrid operation and conserve battery power for later use mode. This new feature debuted on the C-MAX Energi and will be featured on Fusion Energi.
More information about C-MAX Energi can be found here.
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