NextHome

What is NextHome?

NextHome is part smart home, part distributed generation, and part direct current (DC) and operates as a “living lab” within NextEnergy’s testing and validation platforms allowing our industry partners to leverage multiple IoT frameworks and a residential microgrid to accelerate the development and commercialization of next generation energy technologies. 

NextHome’s assets and infrastructure provide a platform to:

  • Test and demonstrate distributed generation and energy storage technologies for residential applications
  • Test and demonstrate interoperability between smart home devices and systems
  • Evaluate the efficiency gains of DC technologies

For more information, contact Jim Saber at 313-833-0100 ext. 240 or saberj@nextenergy.org.

IoT framework
Residential microgrid

NextHome Features

Energy Storage – A 13.1kW energy storage system enables the homeowner to store power from renewables, supply power to the home, and make energy purchase decisions based on market pricing.
Heating and Cooling – A 24V DC in-floor heating system and on-demand hot water system with DC controls, and 24V DC powered ceiling fans can be directly powered from the solar panels and use less energy than their AC counterparts.
Solar Panels – A 3.1kW solar system provides DC power directly to the home and can be stored directly in the Bosch energy storage unit, charge the car, or be used to power devices in the house.
Lighting – Light emitting diode (LED) lighting systems are intrinsically DC based and significantly more efficient than standard incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs.
Windows – Highly efficient windows reduce overall heating and cooling gains, allowing for increased energy efficiency and comfort.
Outlets and Wiring – A 24v and 380v DC wiring system exists at the core of the house and eliminates conversion losses that typically occur when switching from AC to DC. The house features 110v and 240v AC, allowing for a true “living lab”.
Direct Current (DC) Appliances – DC appliances operate more efficiently compared to their AC counterparts reducing overall energy demand. They are also less expensive to manufacture due to fewer components.
Home Energy Management System (HEMS) – Custom, proprietary, and commercially available energy management systems allow a user to manage real-time electricity generation, loads, and energy purchase decisions.
Vehicle Charging – Electric vehicle bi-directional charging allows the car to charge either from the grid or from renewables, but also allows the car to supply power back to the house and serve as additional battery backup.
Vehicle-to-Home (V2H) – Smart devices and a custom home energy management system supports vehicle-to-home communication testing and programs. This new V2H interaction present a range of possibilities for new business models and value propositions.
IoT Platforms – NextHome Internet of Things (IoT) range from custom-built solutions to devices with open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Partners can explore, demonstrate, and showcase their products using emerging standards for interoperable smart home automation and control.

Connected Technologies

Video Camera

This video streaming security camera allows a homeowner to view live video feeds remotely, and can send the homeowner push notifications if it detects motion. The device includes a built-in microphone and cloud storage that enables the homeowner to store and review the captured video.

Presence Sensor

This small keychain device uses geofencing technology to enable location-based services such as turning lights off when leaving, changing the temperature when arriving, or raising your window shades as you pull into your driveway.

 

Energy Switch

These devices monitor energy usage and allow the homeowner to turn connected devices on or off remotely. For example, WeMo switches are connected to two air conditioners in NextHome, which could help the homeowner manage energy consumption to minimize costs.

Water Leak Sensor

This small device detects water leaks in your home. A homeowner could place it under a kitchen sink, near a toilet, or in the basement. It has a built-in temperature sensor to detect extreme temperature changes, which may help determine the cause of the leak.

Television

This Samsung smart TV has built-in wired and wireless connectivity, connects to the home network, and shows internet content. The TV manufacturer can also push over-the-air updates to the TV to improve software services.

Network Switch

This switch physically links multiple wired connected devices together on a common home network to enable data exchange.

Thermostat

This connected Google Nest thermostat allows the homeowner to remotely change the temperature to improve comfort and reduce energy usage. It also has the ability to learn the homeowner’s temperature preferences and schedule.

Coffee Maker

This smart coffee maker is part of the Bosch Home Connect software hub and is voice-activated via Amazon Echo. The homeowner can access drink recipes, monitor the progress of the coffee being brewed, and receive a push notification when the coffee is ready and when more coffee should be ordered.

Refrigerator

This smart Bosch refrigerator allows the homeowner to monitor and change the temperature in both the refrigerator and freezer. In the future, refrigerators will include cameras so the homeowner can check to see if they are low on milk while at the grocery store.

Cisco Meraki Router

In today’s world, a home with access to the internet typically has a router. The router is the link between your home network devices and the cloud, and in the future, will evolve to more directly support Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.

Merit Network Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a programmable computer that links the home’s sensors and meters. If, for example, Merit’s software algorithms detect an unusual spike in home energy usage at 3:00 a.m. and increased data traffic from the cloud, it could be an indicator of a cyber threat.

Amatis Bridge

Nextek Power System’s Power Server Module (PSM) – the triangular box located above the TV to your left –distributes power to anything connected to it. Via the Amatis Bridge, it also links those devices to the cloud to allow the homeowner to turn those items on/off and monitor their energy usage.

Samsung SmartThings Hub

This “controller” groups together inter-related smart things and enables the potential for more automation. Currently, many devices, such as the coffee maker,  and stand-alone air conditioner, are connected via WeMo energy switches that allow these devices to be turned on/off remotely and monitor energy usage.

Amazon Echo “Alexa”

This voice-controlled digital assistant connects items in your home. She can turn on the lights, make coffee, change the radio station, report traffic conditions, etc. Alexa also has the ability to learn voices and create custom profiles for each user.

Google Home “Ok, Google”

This voice-controlled digital assistant connects items in your home, such as turn on lights, make coffee, change the radio station, etc.

Energy Switch

These devices monitor energy usage and allow the homeowner to turn devices that they are connected to on/off remotely. For example, WeMo switches are
connected to the two energy-intensive air conditioners in NextHome, which could help the homeowner manage energy consumption to minimize costs.

Screen Mirror

This device enables a screen from a small device, such as a phone or tablet, to be mirrored to a larger device, such as a television. Visualizing smart home automation activities is important to keep the home occupants informed and aware, wherever they are and whatever screen aids they may be using.

NextHome Partners