Working with homebuilder Signature Homes Alabama Power has launched a Smart Community in Hoover, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. It is reported that the Alabama Power project is the first microgrid in the Southeast to support an entire residential community. The microgrid consists of solar panels, battery storage, and a backup natural gas generator. The homes in the development are built by Signature Homes and are models of energy-efficient features and high technology. All of the homes in the development are projected to receive a HERS Index score in the mid-40s. The neighborhood’s intelligent technology communicates with each home’s heating, air-conditioning and water-heating systems to determine the best way to meet homeowner needs. The homes in the community are rated by the Birmingham, Alabama Rating Company Eco Three. For more information go to https://eco-three.com/. The Alabama NEWSCENTER quotes Signature Homes CEO Dwight Sandlin, “Over the years we’ve tried to create high energy-efficient homes and it’s hard to do. We’ve made great progress, but the standards they wanted to accomplish in this neighborhood were way beyond our abilities. For those who understand it, they wanted a mid-40s HERS rating, which I thought was impossible, but in fact we’ve accomplished that.” For more information on the project go to Alabama Power Smart Community. Alabama Power is joining the trend across the nation in which utilities rely on HERS Index Scores for their new homes energy efficiency programs. According to the Consortium for Energy Efficiency, in 2017, 58% of utilities nationally that had new homes programs used the HERS Index as their verification method. For more information go to Overview of Residential New Construction Programs in the United States and Canada.