Meet our Smart Energy Home Tenants

Cam and Chloe, and their two-year-old daughter Maci were selected as the tenants of the PowerNet Smart Energy Home in February.

A promotion was run using a range of media to find the most suitable tenants, which attracted a high calibre of applications in the form of short videos explaining why they wanted to live in the Smart Energy Home.

PowerNet electrical engineer Dyson Gentle said the Waru’s entertaining and well produced video was instantly one of the stand out applications, and after successfully completing shortlist interviews and checks he was pleased to offer them the tenancy.

“We were looking for some tenants who would be excited to learn more about energy efficiencies and who would be confident showcasing their experience in the public eye. Cam and Chloe are both keen and charismatic, so they will be great for us to work with and I think everyone will really enjoy following their journey,” Dyson said.

Some of the technologies installed in the home include solar panels, battery storage, energy smart appliances, heat pump powered hot water and space heating, and an electric vehicle with a home-charging station.

The goal of the project is for PowerNet to learn more about the everyday use of current and emerging smart energy technologies in order to improve efficiencies and create savings for customers. For one year data will be gathered from the house that will show patterns of how the individual technologies perform and interact.

“For the Waru’s this is a great opportunity to live rent free, experience the technologies first hand, and learn about smart energy use. For us, it’s the next step in understanding future energy use trends so we can best manage the South’s electricity assets now and in the future,” Dyson said.

The Waru family moved from Winton to set up their new home-for-a-year in Invercargill. Chloe is a secondary school teacher at Central Southland College and Cam is a stay at home Dad and keen video blogger. We checked in with Cam to see how the family is settling in so far.

What enticed you to apply for the Smart Energy Home tenancy? We applied for this for a few reasons. It seemed like a great opportunity to be a “guinea pig” for something that could potentially change Invercargill and/or the country! I also love making videos so I didn’t pass up the chance to make a funny video. And of course, having the opportunity to live rent free for a year was pretty attractive too!

How did you feel when you found out you had been selected? We were pretty shocked! I mean, you apply for things like this and you never expect to be selected – so when we got the call we were so excited!

How have you found settling in so far? Everything has been pretty smooth sailing. I guess it’s never easy moving house, but we managed to get it done and settled within a few days. (Although… there is the odd box still lurking around to be unpacked!)

Any highlights from the house so far? The dishwasher! In the other places we have lived there hasn’t been a dishwasher (WE have been the dishwashers) so we have really enjoyed not having to wash and dry dishes every day!

What would you like to learn more about in the Smart Energy Home? We want to learn more about the solar power and how it all works. I find it very intriguing as to how we store and use power, and also send power back to the grid.

How are you finding use of the electric vehicle? We love it – it’s an amazing piece of technology! It’s deceptively quick and really quiet…..(it makes listening to the Frozen soundtrack in the car a much louder experience!)

Follow The Waru’s year in the Smart Energy Home on Facebook –