Power Smarts

29th January 2018

Intelligent technology reduces one family's power bills by 70 percent.

A living laboratory at Mirvac’s Brighton Lakes has reduced one family’s power bills by 70 percent. We investigate the intelligent technology slashing energy costs. 


Most people dread their electricity bill. Not Foti Papoulis, a Service Design Leader for Mirvac Design, who “couldn’t wait” for his latest account, so he could see how much money he had saved. 

The reason for Foti’s enthusiasm is that he and his family volunteered to turn their home into a living laboratory so that Mirvac could collect data on the effectiveness of Evergen – a new intelligent home energy system designed to return power to the consumer. 

The results have surpassed all expectations. After six months of using the system Foti and his wife and their six year old daughter had reduced their energy bills by 70 percent. 

Put simply Evergen combines solar panels and batteries with smart technology. The system continuously assesses the power usage habits of the household and chooses the most efficient source for the home’s electricity supply at any given time, switching from solar to stored power as required. It also forecasts solar production based on analysis of local weather. This information is all delivered to the owner via an easy-to-use app. 

For example if the system predicts rain for the next couple of days then it will recharge the battery from the grid overnight – when energy prices are cheapest. 

Foti explains, “If you take power from the grid between 1pm and 7pm you may pay 36c per kilowatt hour, but if you get the power between 6am and 2pm it’s only 30c, and it’s even cheaper between 10pm and 6am at 14c. 

“The system saves people money because it is geared towards importing power from the grid when it is at its cheapest.” 

The continual monitoring of household energy consumption also helped Foti and his wife change their energy consumption behaviour. 

“Simple changes in usage can have a significant impact on the bottom line,” says Foti. 

“When you use all your appliances at once it drains a lot of power, so not using the washing machine at the same time as the oven helps save money. 

“Once we knew these simple tricks they were easy to implement. 
The Numbers 
Electricity and gas prices are rising. 
Since 2007 residential power prices have jumped up to 135 per cent in some Australian states. The Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) 2016 Residential Electricity Price Trends report predicts increases in all states from 2015/16 to 2018/19 for residential bills: 


 

Adam Perrott, Mirvac’s Senior Development Manager for Brighton Lakes says running a real-life test on Evergen is evidence of Mirvac’s commitment to ensuring exceptional results for customers. 

“Mirvac goes to great lengths to ensure we get products right for our customers. We test and re-test to ensure quality and long-term benefits,” he says. 

“The data from Foti’s Living Laboratory has been combined with other test projects in NSW and Victoria. 

“As a result of the positive feedback from the Living Labs we are now considering offering a solar panel and battery system as an optional inclusion in our next Mirvac Ready Home estate in NSW, so that more of our customers can reduce their energy bills.”