The road to smart homes starts with smart EV charging
Image credit: Katie Nesling/Dreamstime
A new requirement for charging points to have smart functionality marks the start of legislative moves to make UK properties more sustainable in the drive to net zero.
It is no longer enough to simply have an electric vehicle (EV) charger installed on your home – it must be smart. New government legislation states that new EV charging points in all UK domestic and work properties must have smart functionality to reduce pressure on the grid and use renewable sources where possible. Add this to every new build needing a charging point included as standard, and that’s hundreds of thousands of smart charging stations on the horizon.
With transport responsible for the largest percentage of emissions in the UK. and homes due to overtake this in the next 10 years, revolutionising sectoral relationships with energy is both the greatest challenge and opportunity in the journey to net zero. To meet sustainability targets, homes of the future are needed now, and smart EV chargers are just one step on this journey.
The growing demand for sustainable methods of transport and legal requirements to install support infrastructure have pushed consumers and building managers towards smarter, safer, and more sustainable charging solutions, but this is just the beginning.
The UK government has a target to cut emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared with 1990 levels, before moving towards net zero by 2050. The path to net zero is paved with smart technology, and mandates from the government show full support for this new wave of digitalisation and connectivity.
The first step was electrification in the home, with legislation proposed for no more gas boilers in new-builds by 2025 in favour of electric heat pumps. This, coupled with a shift from gas to electric cookers and the boom in EVs, has made homes more reliant on their electricity supply than ever before, creating challenges to ensure that supply can meet demand.
Now, the move to smarter technologies to support net zero goals looks set to continue, with the new requirement for smart EV charging points. The government and industry are recognising the importance of weaving smart technologies into power management. Modernising electrical infrastructure, making the switch to renewables, and reducing pressure on the grid are the focus to accelerate the push to net zero.
New mandates and government grants are a great push for people to move to smarter, more sustainable solutions; however they are often considered a more expensive option that may be out of reach. For example, the benefits of electric vehicles are irrefutable, but many may be concerned that already soaring energy bills will become unmanageable.
The value of smart technology to reduce household spending on energy has never been more apparent in the current economic climate. We must enable fairly priced and more energy-efficient charging that delivers better energy management for homeowners.
Typically, these sustainable homes deliver a 30 per cent reduction in energy usage where investment in smart technologies can load-balance energy and store power generated at peak times. Drop energy use by 30 per cent and you knock 30 per cent off your energy bill and 30 per cent off your carbon footprint. In new homes, this will become standard, with smart energy solutions and EV charging required to create opportunities for long-term cost savings.
Following the boom in the electrification of homes, the next area for improvement should be preparing for the rapid rollout of EVs. The infrastructure required to power this new fleet of vehicles must be a priority, not only for new builds but for retrofits of older properties. By 2030, it is predicted that there will be more than 169 million EVs on UK roads and we must be able to provide sufficient smart infrastructure to make the transition from petrol to electric sustainable.
Smart EV charging stations are safer, more sustainable, reliable, and flexible for different user needs. They pull power from renewable sources and use battery storage to capture energy at peak times, ready for use as and when required. This technology creates an interconnected e-mobility network, facilitating remote monitoring for easy commissioning, operation, and maintenance through the charger’s lifecycle. For multi-tenancy residential buildings, smart EV charging allows accurate and fairer cost allocation, so residents only pay for what they use.
The government making it necessary to have smart functionality built into EV charging points is just the start of the smart home journey. Smart solutions and connected systems throughout the home are vital to make a sustainable and electrical future a reality. If future legislation follows suit to make all parts of the home smarter and more sustainable, net zero targets will become even more attainable, and individuals will feel empowered to change the way they produce, manage, and consume energy.
Nico Van Der Merwe is vice-president of home & distribution UK at Schneider Electric.
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