The way we use electricity in our homes is changing. New technologies and services are emerging that will allow home consumers to use electricity in ways that better suit their needs and their budgets. Many smart homes will be able to produce electricity to use within the house, or sell back to the grid.
Click through the roadmap to see how smart homes could evolve in Ontario over the next 20 years.
A number of electric vehicle pilots are underway, designed to evaluate the impact that vehicle charges have on local distribution systems.
Energy use information is readily available to consumers online.
Home automation systems allow consumers to preset indoor home temperatures in response to price and other signals such as the availability of green energy – without sacrificing comfort.
With smart meters tracking hourly energy use, most consumers pay time-of-use rates.
Local utilities can more efficiently manage their distribution systems by using new technologies to monitor and control real-time power flows.
Geothermal systems transfer heat to or from the ground and the home for air conditioning and heating, significantly reducing energy costs and the impact on the environment.
More robust consumer offerings are available – such as different time-of-use price plans and demand response programs, many with customized features.
Industry standards are established for most smart home technologies, including electric vehicles.
Growing numbers of Ontarians adopt in-home generation technologies such as solar panels.
Ontario's distribution networks more easily accommodate two-way power flows going into and out of homes as a result of electric cars, storage technologies and in-home generation.
Home automation systems allow consumers to control their smart appliances and change their energy use in response to price and other signals.
Used car batteries are recycled and used to store electricity produced during off-peak hours for use during peak hours.
Smart technologies are embedded in home appliances and interact with home gateway devices. For example, appliances could be programmed by the homeowner to cycle down as part of a demand response program.
Thermal solar panels continue to become more widely available providing heat for water and other uses, offsetting a home’s electricity use.
Improvements to thermal energy storage beyond heat pumps allow for the long-term storage of heat energy collected from solar thermal panels.
Home area networks allow consumers to fully integrate into the operation of the grid. Consumers will be able to sell power to their local utility as well as monitor and control their energy use through mobile and computing devices.
The Ontario government envisions that one in 20 cars on the road are powered by electricity.
Photovoltaic panels which produce electricity from the sun continue to become more efficient and are complemented by new energy storage technologies.
Homes can switch between multiple sources of energy.
Some homeowners choose to install small-scale hydrogen storage tanks which can be used as a car fuel, for heating or to generate electricity through a fuel cell.
Community-level networks known as "microgrids" allow neighbours to share power, isolate themselves from outages and provide energy to the broader power grid.
Electric vehicles offer services such as energy storage and power quality support to smart homes and the broader power grid.
Compact fuel cell technologies can convert a variety of fuels - including hydrogen - into both electricity and heat, providing a low-carbon option for home energy needs.
A wireless driveway charger consists of a charging plate buried in the ground that charges an electric car through induction, without having to plug it in.