By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Education
The majority of Americans have heard of the smart grid, but most don't know what it is, according to a new survey by Whirlpool and Habitat for Humanity.
The majority of Americans have heard of the smart grid, but most don't know what it is.
That's according to a new study conducted on behalf of Whirlpool, maker of many an appliance that will one day, with a little intelligence, connect to the grid.
According to the survey, 70 percent of consumers reported being aware of "smart grid technology" but only "somewhat understand how it works."
Just 43 percent of consumers said they know what smart grid tech is.
Interestingly, the number shifted depending on household income: 63 percent of the "upper-middle class" said they knew what it was; 57 percent of "high income" folks reported an understanding of it.
Of those consumers aware of the smart grid, just 35 percent believe their community somewhat understands it. Forty-six percent said they feel their community doesn't understand it at all.
The survey was conducted by the NAHB Research Center on behalf of Whirlpool and Habitat for Humanity International. It was conducted with two groups: consumers (1,092 people were surveyed) and builders (304 people).
The companies' interest in these results stems from the fact that smart appliances are a key component of building green, environmentally sustainable homes.
More stats from the builder portion:
- Of smart grid-aware respondents, 62 percent said they believe homeowners do not understand it at all.
- 79 percent of grid-aware respondents said they "at least somewhat understand how it works."
- 51 percent of grid-aware respondents said they believe the home building industry understands how the technology works.
And a pair of statistics about the future of green building:
- 48 percent of grid-aware consumer respondents indicated that smart appliances will be "very important" to green homes.
- 64 percent of grid-aware builder respondents said smart appliances will be at least "somewhat important" to green homes.
Finally, the survey touched on how knowledge of the smart grid was gained. (After all, most of these public perceptions are formed by how folks learn about the smart grid -- friends, coworkers and publications such as SmartPlanet.)
True to that statement, the survey found that the primary sources from which grid-aware consumers learned about the smart grid were the Internet (51%), television/radio (46%) and magazines/periodicals (28%).
Whirlpool's global director of energy and sustainability, Warwick Stirling, summed this point up nicely:
These survey findings suggest that there needs to be greater emphasis on smart grid education among all of us, which would encourage more green building.
A steep challenge, since Whirlpool has committed to making all of its appliances "smart" by the end of 2015.
Mar 29, 2011
@k8 br you are so right @ NoSacredCow you are just what the enslavers want, a mindless zombie I understand the "smart grid". You can keep your grid to yourself and i'll keep to mine. There's no need for a smart grid to even be considered. Better and cheaper ways are available or being worked on so that we don't a 1984 brother. I rather invest in off grid than put up with a smart grid run by government
I live in Boulder, CO, which is the first city in the US to be fitted with the "smart grid". After several years of hype and cost overruns (the installation cost for 100,000 residents went from $15 million to $45 million, which is being spread across all users in the state), along with some heavy-handed arm-twisting that made residents think they had to participate in pilot programs, we are starting to see some pricing options. In at least one proposed option, the peak price for power during summer "peak energy events" (defined by the utility) would go to $0.51 per KWH! Given that our utility is in the process of closing many coal plants and converting others to natural gas, much of our summer peak usage will no doubt fall under "peak energy events". Goodbye A/C! You can see what will really happen once your utility has total control of your power usage at http://www.dailycamera.com/energy/ci_17418583 .
@NoSacredCow -- Then you can sell back your excess generated electricity through the "Smart Grid". Just like beating the "man" at his own "game". Assuredly one of the most stupidest concepts being pushed by advocates of the "Smart Grid" is to let anyone (fool or teenage troublemaker or terrorist) have access to the "control circuits" of the local power grid so they can push a few excess electrons coming off their roof solar panel in the guise of making money. There can never be enough safeguards in the proposed scheme to prevent anyone from taking down a "local" section of the power grid (maybe it could be contained to a few blocks, but I am not convinced). If you enjoy PC viruses now, just wait until you enjoy intermittent power fluctuations/surges. This is such an absolutely bad idea that I cannot contain my disdain for the idiots promoting it.
The industry doesn't even understand smart grid. Blind leading the blind. Ask 10 "experts" what it is and you'll get 10 different answers. From my perspective, anything that helps the public make smarter decisions is a good thing, as long as it doesn't involve a more expansive and intrusive government. Awareness is the key to changing people's wasteful habits. Assuredly a paradigm shift to enlighten people about their excesses is powerful. But after trying for decades to be a good example to others only to be ignored, all this hype about a "smart grid" leaves me saying, "Meh."
@tadloot What am I doing to go green? Plenty, with no financial ROI, either. I replaced my central A/C with a very high efficiency unit, along with replacing all the ductwork and adding extra insulation to my attic. My KwH use and electric bills dropped drastically. I replaced all the windows and exterior doors, and my KwH use and electric bills dropped yet again, though not so drastically. I planted four trees on my 75'x150' lot, adding to the one tree that was already there. @k8 br You are so right. @NoSacredCow How do you think those meters are paid for? Oh, yeah, FREE government money...
The American consumer doesn't have to spend money for the meter. At least not in many cases. The utilities are in the process of replacing their old antiquated meters. Mine was replaced and I didn't notice it until I got the notification from FPL. I forgot to mention ealrier there was an added bonus. The meters are more accurate. Without making any changes in my patterns my monthly electric bill went down an average of $10 a month.
Just because we can doesn't mean we should Why should the American consumer spend billions of dollars retrofitting their home meters? So they can log on and watch their electric usage? What then? Are they going to tell the refrigerator to raise the temperature and spoil the food? Are they going to tell the oven to stop cooking? Are they going to tell the drier to stop drying? NO!! None of these activities are done while people are away. The only usage I've ever heard of is to tell the air conditioner to turn on or off or to change temperature. I used to have a time-of-use meter so I was keenly aware of when it was the best time to use my optional appliances. But the utility charged the most during the week when everyone was home in the morning and evening, so I really had little choice about how much electricity I used.
Some folks will always look to the worst case scenario no matter what. I've had a smart meter on my house now for a year. I can go on line and actually track my electric usage instead of going outside and watching the wheel spin on the meter. I know how much power my oven is using to cook. How much the washer and dryer cost to run etc. I can see what my peak usage is. That's a smart meter. A "smart grid" enables the electrical grid to shut down or reroute portions of the grid during weather emergencies or national disasters. It also allows rerouting of energy from various sources to overcome peaktime demands. If you want to pay more to use more during peak times you will they won't cut your power. It also allows rerouting of electricity during a terrorism event. Right now are grid is vulnerable through several choke points nationally. It isn't all about "big brother" getting control of your home. If you believe that is the case, then why don't you install solar panels and a wind turbine for back up power for that bunker in Idaho that you have stocked up with MREs and ammunition? Then you can sell back your excess generated electricity through the "Smart Grid". Just like beating the "man" at his own "game". ;)
What are you doing to go green? Here are some tips: http://www.youtube.com/user/ReliantRodeo
When everything is now marketed as "smart", how are people to differentiate the "smart" from the dumb? Sooner or later, every time they hear about a "smart"-(thing), their eyes will either glaze over from buzzword fatigue, or roll from cynicism.
In the 90's I had central air installed at my home and everyone said to get interruptible service from my electric provider, which I did. The bills were cheaper, but a major heat wave hit and my power company decided I didn't need the air that much so my house was at 85 degrees. I decided why did I spend all this money on central air when the power comany was deciding the temp of my house. I cancelled the service the next day. I found ways to keep the bills down and keep my house the temp I wanted. Also, digital isn't always better than analog. Do you ever remember your analog TV freezing the picture and sound in the middle of a program? I feel the switch to digital was NOT an upgrade.
If the electric company adjusted pricing along peak demand times, I think many people would self regulate--I know I would! I like that much better than some agency deciding when I may use electricity.
Remember the "KISS" principle. I am a long time high tech designer and I understand that digital isn't always the answer to everything. 40+ years ago we had Peak Demand Meters that were quite effective in making us adjust our electrical consumption habits. Governmental controls and hidden cost digital networks were not necessary. Keep It Simple, Smartplanet!
Smart Grid means someone besides you will control your thermostat and your appliances' on/off cycles. Big Brother will decide whether or not you can wash your clothes at 5pm, or run your dishwasher at 6am, or turn your A/C down one degree when you go to sleep, so that you don't wake up in a pool of perspiration. Congratulations.
Well that's embarrassing! Touche. I've added a link to the definition on the first mention of "smart grid" in the post. Thanks for pointing out this terribly ironic omission!
I see it like this... Once upon a time a man invented something that could greatly lessen the time and exertion required to meet the needs of hungry families. He invented a device that would kill a deer from a distance not requiring the hunter to chase it, trap it, or put himself in danger. The musket or black powder rifle was invented. It became wildly popular and was the new standard. Soon every man owned one and hungry families were fed. You see where I'm going with this. The question with respect to Smart Grid technology is then this: Who are the deer? Who are the hunters seeking to feed? The rifle shortly transformed the way people are controlled. Subsequently many governments have taken control of individuals rights to retain and bare arms for those reasons. While Smart Grid technology has many beneficial uses, just like rifles and muskets, the misuses also abound. Smart Grid technology avails itself to efficiently redistribute and manage power. That was the claim of the rifle too. We all should be weary of any government or entity which seeks control of our use of electricity, (and arms). I'm particularly concerned about any technology that could limit the use of any electric appliances or equipment in my home without my consent. Now then, where can I purchase a "black box" that will disguise the use of the electricity I purchased within my home? New market? Why not make more what of we're seeking to redistribute first? It's the American Way! (tongue in cheek).
It is because articles like this fail to describe the smart grid. My impression of the smart grid. 1 Electric company can control your electric use to discourage high power consumption at times. 2 Electric company can vary cost of electricity based on peak times. 3 You may be able to use grid to charge a electric vehicle at a remote location and bill home account. To me it looks like all the advantages are all to the electric company. I do not want to pay to "upgrade" to a smart grid. Politically conected companies like GE are using this idea and some cleaver marketing to create demand for expensive new equipment. How is that for understanding what the smart grid is all about?
A link to a good explanation of what the smart grid is would be helpful for some of your readers (like me), too.