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Smart Communities

Project Description

Smart Communities is a project made up of two smaller projects: “Smart Energy Technologies” (SET) and “Extreme Energy Makeovers” (EEM).

Each project will be implemented by a project team that must include a local power company and may include a third-party project implementer, community organizations, state and local government agencies, manufacturers, businesses, non-profit organizations or other potential members.

Smart Energy Technologies (SET) has been established in the Glasgow Electric Plant Board community in the Tennessee Valley power service region to model the most efficient energy use processes and upgrades available. An example of such a project would be one that provides a range of energy efficiency technologies and the primary enabling elements of a smart grid (intelligent devices, two-way communications and information management) on a typical power distributor system. Technology or efficiency applications could include but not be limited to: high- efficiency appliances, high-efficiency air conditioning or water heating, lighting upgrades, smart meters, consumer interface/display devices, grid integrated renewable energy, energy storage, electric vehicle and vehicle charging, voltage optimization and the full characterization of the carbon impact of such a deployment. Additionally, numerous opportunities exist for testing technologies that are being considered today. This project will also cover the demand-response side, using energy efficiency with demand response to make a house function as a machine that works in conjunction with the power grid/power delivery system. SET will be about exploring the opportunities and testing the interaction of smart grid devices and ultra-efficient homes. This project will take advantage of the investments local utilities have made in the smart grid system and priority will be given to those areas that have advanced systems already in place.

Extreme Energy Makeovers (EEM) is a project in the homes or residences of seven communities located in different climate regions in the Tennessee Valley. These communities are served by 4-County Electric Power Association, Cleveland Utilities, Columbus Light & Water, Huntsville Utilities, Knoxville Utilities Board, North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, and Oak Ridge Electric Department. EEM includes cost-effective, deep-energy retrofits, maximizing the use of the energy reduction measures and focusing on a whole house approach. These measures can include: weatherization, air sealing, high-efficiency heat pumps, high-efficiency air conditioners, duct replacing/repairing, ENERGY STAR® windows, building envelope insulating, high efficiency light fixtures, crawl space and attic insulation, heat pump water heaters, ENERGY STAR appliances and whole-house ventilation. Each home goes through a building diagnostic and analysis (energy audit), utilizing blower door testing to identify the most cost effective energy reduction measures. The measures implemented are tailored to meet the needs of each home through implementation of the most cost-effective measures for the home. The target for EEM are homes 20 years or older in lower-income communities. The goal of EEM is to achieve a 25 percent energy reduction of the home’s energy use. The estimated energy savings is 1,000 MWH/yr. at approximately $10/square foot.

A component of the Smart Energy Technologies and Extreme Energy Makeovers projects is the development of tools and resources for educating consumers and communities on the benefits of such upgrades. In addition to providing each homeowner with custom training on the specific improvements on their home, TVA and TVA partners hold public education demonstrations in communities to provide education on the Smart Communities, Extreme Energy Makeovers Projects and available resources.

Project Implementation

  1. A national benchmarking study of similar projects across the U.S. was conducted to determine best practices/lessons learned. This study was instrumental in developing the Requests for Proposals (RFPs).
  2. The RFPs (one for SET, one for EEM) sought to identify project teams and project proposals, according to the capabilities and qualifications of project team members. Project team members included a local power company, while the principal respondent was a third-party implementer. Other project team members include, but are not limited to, community organizations, local and state governmental agencies, manufacturers, businesses and non-profit organizations.
  3. The two RFPs were released, at separate times, to solicit detailed proposals for each project. The RFPs were assessed based upon an evaluation criteria matrix.
  4. After the RFP submittals were evaluated, projects were awarded based upon alignment with the stated concepts and goals for each project, emissions reduction magnitudes (where applicable), project team member capabilities, energy savings (where applicable) and timeliness of completing such projects before the final completion date.

EPA Agreement Five-Year Budget

$50 million