Spurred by consumer appetite favouring sustainability, as well as market drivers, like increasingly affordable solar technology and updated building codes – there is a pressing need for housing solutions to address climate concerns. Power.House Hybrid (PHH) is a first-of-its-kind technology demonstration project that integrates a hybrid set of electrical and thermal equipment into a virtual power plant (VPP) platform and uncovers possibilities for the next generation of smart, future-ready homes. Power.House Hybrid is a collaborative project between Alectra Inc., Enbridge Gas Inc., the City of Markham, and Toronto Metropolitan University and is funded by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). This project, which had a data collection period of 2021-22, has demonstrated how the integration and control of electrical and thermal technology in 10 single-family homes in Markham Ontario successfully lowered their carbon footprint and their electricity bills – as well as provided their homes with greater resiliency to address power outages experienced due to the rising frequency of adverse climate events.
WHAT MAKES PHH UNIQUE
Power.House Hybrid is a multi-pronged, flexible solution to many sustainability obstacles. Currently, residential use of clean distributed energy resources (DERs) – such as solar panels, air source heat pumps, and other clean energy technologies – are individually insufficient to meet community greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. Primary challenges include:
1. Optimizing household energy usage to lower the carbon footprint of homes while still meeting residents’ energy needs; and
2. Improving the sustainability and resilience of the power grid using home-based renewable DERs.
To tackle these challenges within the pilot project, 10 homes were retrofitted with advanced electrical and thermal technologies, as well as control systems, to reduce pressure on the grid during peak demand periods. Together, these homes act as a localized virtual power plant (VPP), instead of relying on large, centralized power generation. Smart electric vehicle (EV) chargers were installed to move the EV charging load to off-peak times.
Click here to read more about Alectra’s Power.House Hybrid, is the first-of-its-kind technology that integrates a set of electrical and thermal equipment into a virtual power plant (VPP) platform in the summer issue of The Distributor.