The Pecan Street Project, an example of a neighborhood step to a smart city
There are numerous energy-related projects coming up in the United States “Smart Grid City” in Boulder, Colorado, “Pecan Street Project” in Austin Texas, the “Smart Grid Demonstration Project” in Los Alamos and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to name a few.
The Pecan Street Project is a relatively new research and development organization that strives to implement advanced energy management systems, as well as optimize those systems based on consumer behavior. Their initial project which is pushing their name on the roster of smart city innovators is called the Pecan Street Demonstration.
The key element which is setting this demonstrative project apart is the emphasis on “big data” as a critical element in optimizing the emerging smart technologies of energy generation and management; namely, consumer preferences and actual usage. The article above from Time”s science section puts the issue plain and simple stating that we as consumers in the modern day have been largely unaware of the actual amount of energy (not to mention water) we are using, but advances in data management will give us a better idea and thus direct energy conservation efforts where they are needed the most.
The Pecan Street Project, which initially took the form of a sort of miniature smart city, complete with nearly 400 houses with solar panels, all connected by a smart grid, also includes the highest residential concentration of electric vehicles, with about 60 Chevrolet Volts in active use in the project.
Each year temperatures during the summer are demonstrating an upward trend, and in the withering heat of a Texas summer, this project over the next few years will give us hopefully an idea of the shifting trends in consumer energy expenditures, as well as the offset influenced by the introduction of new technologies.