Alabama Power, partners unveil first Smart Neighborhood

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Alabama’s first Smart Neighborhood at Reynolds Landing in Hoover was unveiled Tuesday by Alabama Power, its partners in creating the cutting-edge neighborhood, and local and national officials.

The project includes the first microgrid in the Southeast to support an entire residential community. Its homes, built by Signature Homes, are models of energy-efficient features and high technology.

“Over the years we’ve tried to create high energy-efficient homes and it’s hard to do,” said Signature Homes CEO Dwight Sandlin. “We’ve made great progress, but the standards they wanted to accomplish in this neighborhood were way beyond our abilities. For those who understand it, they wanted a mid-40s HERS rating, which I thought was impossible, but in fact we’ve accomplished that.”

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The unveiling included a program at the microgrid, which consists of solar panels, battery storage and a backup natural gas generator.

The Smart Neighborhood homes are rated 35 percent more efficient than standard Alabama homes being built today. They provide a glimpse into what residential construction may look like in 20 years, and are equipped with cutting-edge systems and appliances that give customers more control over their home’s features and energy use.

John Hudson, Alabama Power’s senior vice president of Marketing and Business Development, said the company is thrilled about the project.

“We believe this neighborhood represents a great leap forward in serving our customers and providing energy in ways to improve people’s lives like we’ve never done before.”

The neighborhood’s intelligent technology communicates with each home’s heating, air-conditioning and water-heating systems to determine the best way to provide energy.

Those attending Tuesday’s event were invited to tour Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood Idea House to get a look at the advanced products, efficient equipment and enhanced building features used in the neighborhood.

Participating Tuesday with Hudson and Sandlin were Daniel Simmons, the U.S. Department of Energys principal deputy assistant secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato.

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