- Georgia Power and PulteGroup have partnered to develop Atlanta's first "Smart Neighborhood," which will contain energy-efficient, technology-rich homes.
- Each home will have rooftop solar panels, in-home battery energy storage, LED lighting, advanced heating/cooling systems, and Internet of Things technologies such as smart locks and voice control features. The community will serve as a real-life test lab to research emerging technologies and innovation performance.
- Phase one of the neighborhood will consist of 46 townhomes and is expected to open later this year. Eventually, the footprint will expand to become a larger smart community.
Georgia Power is the largest electric subsidiary of Southern Company, which also owns Alabama Power. Last spring Alabama Power announced a similar "Smart Neighborhood" partnership — with Signature Homes and Oak Ridge National Laboratory — near Birmingham that it showcased this week at the National Association of Home Builders International Builders Show. The first residents moved into that community in November and the 62-home project is scheduled for completion this spring.
Like the Atlanta project, the Alabama community serves as a research center, especially for its solar and battery-storage microgrid. Georgia Power plans to gather data about energy usage and technology performance to analyze the effectiveness of the innovations and to provide insight about how to build better homes in the future. For example, they should be able to gather valuable data on household energy load demands and how to meet those needs with efficient energy strategies.
This project shows how partnerships can lead to innovative developments that individual companies might have difficulty pulling off on their own. While much attention in the smart cities space is on public-private partnerships, this one illustrates the power of non-governmental partnerships as well.
The development will complement other environmentally friendly and energy-efficient initiatives taking place in Atlanta such as the city's $500 million loan program for clean energy projects and its new ordinance to support electric vehicle infrastructure. The city also just issued an RFP for partnerships to advance municipal smart city initiatives.