The Pecan Street Project

We know that concerned energy customers always asking themselves: “What else can I do to make a difference?”

Pecan Street Inc. is a University of Texas-based research organization seeking volunteers to take part in a research trial designed to make reducing your carbon footprint simpler, more intelligent and more cost-effective for homeowners like you.

Our research began in Austin and has expanded to other parts of Texas.  In the summer of 2013, our work will expand to other states.

Read below to see if we are looking for participants in your area.

Greater Texas

We are currently seeking homeowners throughout Texas – among the Smart Meter Texas and Green Mountain Energy service territories – to take part in a research trial supported by the Smart Meter Texas home energy access initiative.

Project goals

To understand how best to lower our collective carbon impact, it is important to learn how energy is being used among homes. But understanding the “how” is only half of the challenge: Pecan Street also seeks to understand what homeowners need in order to manage their energy use. It is therefore the goal of this research to give individuals the tools they need to personally make a difference – above and beyond what a can be done with a monthly utility bill.

Pecan Street Inc. is leading a team of researchers from The University of Texas, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Environmental Defense Fund to develop and test a free home environmental solutions app. With this app, we’ll bring the often daunting task of global energy management right to the hands of people like you who are eager to make a tangible impact for themselves, their community and the communities of future generations.

What it means to volunteer

We know that committed individuals and companies can speed up the arrival of a better, cleaner future. That’s where you come in.

Homeowners who participate in this trial will receive access to a personalized website that enables users to monitor their energy use and its correlation to utility bills alongside practical, individualized tips for reducing energy use and costs. As with all of Pecan Street’s research, participation is free and volunteers’ identities are not shared with any research partners.

Signing up is easy: click the link below to determine your eligibility and fill out enrollment forms electronically. Pecan Street will then ask for basic information regarding your home’s smart meter and begin providing access to its energy monitoring portal.

Benefits to volunteers

Your personal commitment to being a part of the solution is what gives life to research like this. By signing up, you will become part of the nation’s deepest- ever research trial into residential energy use. And you’ll be among the first of the project’s participants in the Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston areas – true pioneers in what makes up the vast majority of the third-largest utility grid in the country.

As a homeowner, the insights you’ll gain into the way you use electricity will take the guesswork out of energy management. They will create a simpler method for monitoring utility bills. And they will pave the way for bigger and better energy savings as we plan for the challenge ahead.

Click here to sign up for Pecan Street’s greater Texas research trial.

Need more information? Click here to review participants’ Frequently Asked Questions.

Austin

Pecan Street is seeking homeowners in Austin – in and around the Mueller community, as well as in the Great Hills neighborhood – to take part in its nationally unique home energy research trial. Participation is free, and volunteers will receive technologies that track energy use in the home to make energy monitoring more intelligent and cost-effective. Additional technologies, listed below, are also being tested among research participants.

Mueller at a Glance

When Austin closed the Mueller municipal airport in 1999, community leaders committed to redeveloping the site into a ground-breaking mix-used, sustainable urban neighborhood. A decade later, the Mueller community is a bustling mini-city — home to the world’s first LEED-platinum hospital, dozens of green-built office buildings and stores and over 1,000 residents who call themselves “Pioneers.”

  • 700 acres
  • World’s largest LEED-ND certified community (2009)
  • Three miles from downtown
  • More than 4,900 planned homes
  • 4.5M sq. ft. planned office and retail
  • Ultra green-built
  • Reclaimed water system
  • Carbon-sequestering landscaping
  • 25% affordable housing

10 Pretty Darn Interesting Stimulus-Funded Smart Grid Projects

“This project in Austin is getting a lot of attention… Perhaps as interesting as what they’re doing is how this progressive not-for- profit entity is making the Pecan Street Project happen.” — Smart Grid Today

Supported by a $10.4 million smart grid demonstration grant from the Department of Energy (and more than $14 million in matching funds from project partners), Pecan Street Inc. is leading a team of researchers from The University of Texas, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Environmental Defense Fund to develop and test an integrated clean energy smart grid of tomorrow in the homes of today.

We are working with Austin Energy, the nation’s largest seller of green power and the first utility in the world to create a green building code (which became the basis of the LEED rating system).

Over a five-year timeline, this team will test systems in up to 1,000 residences in and around the Mueller community that will include:

  • distributed clean energy
  • energy storage technologies
  • smart grid water and smart grid irrigation systems
  • smart appliances
  • plug-in electric vehicles
  • advanced meters and home energy management systems
  • green building
  • new electricity pricing models

It’s an ambitious effort intended to not only “smarten” up the utility’s grid, but find true benefits that energy customers want.  And it’s only natural that the place to take on the technology and environmental challenges of reinventing electricity would be Austin…a dynamic high tech community with a passionate green soul.

We are currently recruiting homeowners in and around the Mueller community that would like to participate in this one-of-a-kind research. For more information about the demonstration project at Mueller, please contact Rachel Jenkins (rjenkins@pecanstreet.org).

To learn more about this project and meet some of our participants in the Mueller community, watch our resident video.

Click here to sign up.