Smart Neighborhood initiative in Birmingham’s North Titusville community becomes reality

Smart Neighborhood initiative in Birmingham’s North Titusville community becomes reality
The new neighborhood features homes that are more energy efficient and connected with smart technology. (Billy Brown / Alabama NewsCenter)

Residents of historic North Titusville in Birmingham will soon welcome new neighbors to the community’s first Smart Neighborhood: Live on 1st. Live on 1st was officially dedicated today as part of a partnership between Navigate Affordable Housing Partners and Alabama Power.

Navigate Affordable Housing Partners is a nonprofit engaged in developing, owning and managing affordable housing, and Live on 1st is part of its ongoing commitment to increase the availability of quality, affordable housing in metropolitan Birmingham. The development, designed by architects at Design Initiative, consists of three modular single-family homes that are about 1,500 square feet.

“Over the past few months, Navigate has worked with our partners at Alabama Power Company and Design Initiative to build houses for the working families priced out of owning a home in metro Birmingham,” said Navigate CEO Lisa McCarroll. “It is truly a challenge to create housing that is not only affordable but also durable, energy efficient and smart. The Live on 1st project is a testament to what is possible when you treat affordability and quality equally.”

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Live on 1st is a milestone project for Alabama Power’s Smart Neighborhood Builder Program. It is the first to focus on workforce development housing, supporting urban revitalization and using modular housing. The homes were constructed by Franklin Homes and assembled onsite by Drake Construction.

Alabama Power provided energy-efficient upgrades and technology to make the homes 15% more efficient than standard new construction. Alabama Power helped offset the cost of some of the upgrades to help promote these measures and create long-term affordable housing solutions for tenants.

“Alabama Power is honored to partner with Navigate Affordable Housing Partners to see Live on 1st become a reality,” said Tony Smoke, Alabama Power’s senior vice president of Marketing and Economic Development. “This neighborhood is truly one of a kind, combining modular housing with energy-efficient upgrades and smart technology for a high-quality experience.”

Also supporting the project is the Alabama Business Charitable Trust Fund (ABC Trust). Created by Alabama Power in 1992, the ABC Trust provides grants for energy efficient upgrades and health and human service projects.

With energy-efficient building techniques and smart technology throughout the homes, the Live on 1st homes qualify as smart homes. The Home Energy Rating Score (HERS) index rating is expected to be under 65 for each home. That compares to a score of 70 for new homes built to Alabama’s current residential energy code. The lower the HERS rating, the more energy efficient the home.

Energy-efficient construction upgrades in the homes include:

  • High-SEER heat pump.
  • Hybrid, high-efficiency heat pump water heater.
  • Higher R-value wall, roof and floor insulation.
  • 100% LED lighting.
  • Electric vehicle charger plug.

A smart home package has been installed in each home by Chorus SmartSecure, enabling residents to live more comfortably and connected, with the ability to control their homes remotely or through voice activation.
Each Chorus SmartSecure system includes:

  • Security panel.
  • Smart thermostat.
  • Amazon Dot voice assistant.
  • Doorbell camera.
  • Infrared motion detector.
  • Smart door lock.
  • Smart lighting (outlets and switches).
  • Door sensors.
  • Carbon monoxide detector.
  • Smoke detector.

Through the Smart Neighborhood Builder Program, Alabama Power partners with homebuilders across the state to construct all-electric, energy-efficient homes with the capability to conserve, manage and monitor energy usage through technology. For more information, visit apcsmartneighborhood.com.

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