Smart Homes

The goal of the Smart Homes Kick Start Project is to reduce the cost burden of high utility bills and resource waste through weatherization, training, and smart technology in partnership with service providers and innovative companies. By lowering utility bills the Kick Start Project will help people to remain in place and alleviate financial burdens. Through testing smart homes devices and collecting data on savings, the project can help educate residents on how technology can improve quality of life. This has been done through two phases:
  1. The Duke Energy Neighborhood Energy Savings Program installed basic weatherization and energy and water saving measures in the homes of 70% of the homes in the older neighborhoods of the North End on their own funding mid-2017. As part of our partnership, Duke distributed a survey to homeowners that gave the City critical information about other needs and identifying households that qualify for City programs. Over 45 households were identified in that distributed survey for the City’s Safe Home program as likely eligible for the program and received targeted outreach.
  2. Duke Energy is partnering with Amazon and Intel to test smart home bundles (HUB: Amazon Echo Dot/Intel Gateway, Smart Plugs (2x), Thermostat, Halo Smoke/Fire Alarm or First Response Smart Fire Alarm based on wiring of home, Amazon Prime, Smart Strip, Light Bulbs, 30-day support with Amazon) for income qualifying neighborhoods. They identified the North End as the location to collaborate with up to 40 interested households. The residents who indicated their interest in this project were invited to select meaningful smart home devices and chart the course on a partnership with Duke Energy.

    Key partner RETI (Renewable Energy Transition Initiative) a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization is providing support and training for all the program participants, as well as for the broader community on energy and cost-savings techniques to reduce the energy burden (percentage of income spent on energy) in the area. Households that have agreed to participate will share data on energy savings as well as lessons learned throughout 2018.


The results of the April - June survey are below. Download a PDF version of the impacts.


  • 17 of the 29 participating homes lowered their energy usage.
  • May saw the highest overall energy savings at 8%.

Ranking of Smart Home Device Satisfaction:

Smart Bulb
1. Smart Bulbs
2. Thermostat
Smart Plugs
3. Smart Plugs
Smart Strip
4. Smart Strip
Smoke Detector
5. Smoke / Fire Detector



NESD: 4.7% Hispanic or Latino; 3.5% White or Caucasian; 88.8% Black or African American
NESD: 4.7% Hispanic or Latino; 3.5% White or Caucasian; 88.8% Black or African American


Pie chart shows the demographic breakdown of the people participating in the project
Participating in the project: 10% Hispanic or Latino; 13% White; 77% Black or African American

Lessons Learnt:

Do you find yourself making different energy use decisions in your home due to your participation in the program?

Bar chart showing the effect of the program on their energy choices from April to June
Yes responses increased from 77% to 85% from April to June.

Do you feel like you saved enough money on your electricity bills this month to make an impactful difference to your household budget?

Bar chart showing the difference in money saved from April to June
Yes responses increased from 43% to 65% from April to June.

I have learned what I hoped to from the Smart Home Kick Start.

Slider scale from 1 to 5 where 5 is
Respondents agreed with an average of 4.04 / 5

I would participate again in the Smart Homes Kick Start

Slider scale from 1 to 5 where 5 is
Respondents overwhelmingly agreed they would participate again with an average of 4.91 / 5

I would be interested in another phase that focuses on building off lessons learnt.

Slider scale from 1 to 5 where 5 is
Respondents were interested in another phase with an average 4.65 / 5

I see benefit to rolling this Kick Start out to the larger North End Smart District.

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Respondents agreed with an average of 4.7 / 5