When it comes to the smart home concept, the customer is looking for an overall approach, explains Edmund Barrett, International Business Development SmartHome RWE Effizienz GmbH, who will be speaking at the next European Utility Week.
Innovation helps set new standards
RWE Effizienz GmbH is supporting its customers by helping them consume energy in the most efficient, safe, affordable and environmentally-friendly way possible, explains Barrett. “With innovative products like RWE SmartHome or state of the art energy storage packages, we are setting new standards in energy efficiency.”
In Germany, in partnership with local installation companies, RWE is selling private solar energy systems with storage technology that offers intelligent energy management in combination with the RWE SmartHome home control system.
RWE also offers a number of applications which can accompany the system. These applications are aimed at helping customers see how much energy their photovoltaic systems are producing, or when their solar storage unit is full. This enables customers to decide when to use the self-generated energy to power their home appliances.
In Germany, households and traffic represent more than half of the annual energy consumption. Therefore, residential homes have a lot to offer when it comes to energy efficiency goals, explains Barrett. For example, the “RWE Future House” in Bottrop is a modernised single family home from the 1960s. RWE uses it to demonstrate that, by applying new technology and the innovative interplay of existing products like home automation it is possible to produce more energy in a residential building than is required to run the home. The basis for doing so is a 90% reduction in energy consumption.
“Energy efficiency, as well as electric cars powered by eco-electricity, are the biggest levers that we have for achieving a significant reduction of carbon emissions in our cities”, explains Barrett. Individual mobility is set to become increasingly electrified in cities and urban areas.
RWE runs the biggest network of charging points in Germany and is also represented in 21 European countries. Today the network boasts over 3,000 European-wide charging points – and the trend is rising. Electric vehicles charge wherever they park, whether it is at home, the workplace, or in public places. RWE’s wallbox remote at home is able to assist households to use their self-generated electricity for this purpose. This is done with RWE’s smart charging technology which is naturally combined with all of the functionality of RWE SmartHome.
Overcoming the consumer engagement barrier
Demand response programs and consumer engagement programs do not always deliver the desired effect. However, Barrett believes that financial incentives work best in the German market. He explains that, in Germany, investment programs boosted interest in photovoltaic technology. Now, the financial support focuses on investments to increase the self-consumption of renewables.
Says Barrett, “Financial incentives can certainly work. Generally though, we see “ease of use“, and “lifestyle improvement” as key to engaging customers.”
Utilities continue to search for new business models that will bring the most promising results. However, some utilities don’t always have the available skill set to make the most of a new business model.
Barrett points out that RWE represents a century of expertise in energy which is applied to enable customers to control their energy needs for efficiently.
He explains, “Our core competence is smart energy management. The RWE Group was ranked as the best German company and third in Europe on the Innovation Index for the European Energy Industry, a new standard developed by the European School of Technology. In a smarter energy future, we no longer sell only “gas and power” to our clients. We provide warmth, comfort and light!”