Cambridge firm unveils hybrid home
This energy-saving, environmentally-friendly property is the work of geo (green energy options), a company of 70 employees located in Hardwick.
A hybrid home is essentially a home with a large battery, big enough to store enough off-peak electricity to run the home at peak periods.
According to geo, which is run by its CSO Simon Anderson, who is originally from Cambridge, and its CEO Patrick Caiger-Smith, from Daventry, this is two-thirds of the consumption of an average household.
As off-peak electricity is half the price of peak electricity this immediately delivers a saving of about 30 per cent.
Add to this heat storage, solar panels and other forms of energy efficiency and you can easily save more than 50 per cent on energy costs.
The Internet of Energy (IoE) is at the heart of geo’s hybrid home vision – a specialist element of the Internet of Things (IoT) – in contrast to more standard IoT products.
geo has recently won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its innovation which underlines the vital importance of smarter home energy solutions.
Simon, a former submarine commander in the Royal Navy, told the Cambridge Independent: “Patrick Caiger-Smith [an engineer by trade] and I founded the company back in 2006.
“Our aim was to help people save money on their energy bills, and in doing so reduce the CO2 emissions from our homes.”
He continued: “To do that, we felt we needed to make energy visible – make the invisible visible – by giving information on it. That’s really what we started out doing and that’s what we won the innovation award for – with our first set of displays called the ‘Solo display’.”
The concept involves taking information from the meter and then displaying it in a very simple way.
Simon said: “What we can do with that is get people interested – and all our research shows that people are interested – and they can start to see where they are potentially wasting energy. We help people save money that way.”
Simon says that the homeowner soon starts taking control of things like heating and water, which then leads to a desire for an automated system. “That’s where the hybrid home comes in,” he explained. “What we do with the hybrid home is that we integrate everything – a bit like a hybrid car.
“All the energy-efficiency bits in a car are integrated and operated in the background, and the user gets a much nicer driving experience and lower bills – we’re trying to do that with the home.”
The key to achieving this, says Simon, is through the battery. “In effect, that gives a store of energy which you can use, or not as the case may be, to flatten out demand – and therefore use electricity at the cheapest moment.”
He added: “The hybrid home is about the home’s ability to generate electricity using solar panels, or from the grid – taking it at off-peak times – to store it efficiently and then to use it efficiently.”
Working with a major housebuilder and a university, geo will be doing a pilot demonstration project at the beginning of 2018.
“We would hope and expect to have the hybrid home available for consumers to buy by the end of 2018, beginning of 2019,” concluded Simon.