Reliant living laboratory one year later


After a full year in operation, Reliant Energy is offering up the results of its "living laboratory," Innovation Avenue.

On Innovation Avenue stand 12 homes ranging from new to century old. In October 2011 each received a customized set of energy efficiency upgrades and smart energy technology products and services, designed to provide them with detailed information about their electricity usage and costs.

The tools include home energy monitors, weekly summary emails detailing energy usage and estimated costs, solar panels, and home automation, as well as an air conditioning inspection and tune-up where needed. Residents were also part of a smart appliance pilot program.

The results, which were compared to electricity usage prior to the home modifications, suggest that when homeowners are given these types of tools, they have the motivation and ability to change their habits and reduce electricity use. Residents of Innovation Avenue have reduced electricity usage by an average 16 percent, with one home achieving 32 percent energy savings.

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