Phil Copperwheat, Information Systems Director at Morgan Sindall Property Services and goldeni, discusses the ways in which IoT sensors have the power to uncover small changes that could have a significant impact on the financial and environmental costs of running a home
The way in which we operate and maintain our properties can be a huge source of energy inefficiency. With rising energy prices, now is the time to look at our homes and identify ways in which we can make them more energy efficient, to reduce the impact on the environment and reduce energy costs for tenants.
Poor insulation is a significant cause of energy inefficiency and can result in lower internal temperatures, creating poor living conditions for tenants. Insufficient insulation can also cause tenants to run boilers more frequently to maintain a healthy internal temperature that is both financially unsustainable and inefficient use of energy.
IoT enabled sensors installed within the home can detect when temperatures fall below their optimum, meaning this data can be used to help landlords and property maintenance teams identify buildings that may be insufficiently insulated. By carrying out remedial works to rectify this problem, landlords can make a significant step towards decarbonisation and progress their journey to net-zero.
Installing smart boilers
Inefficient boilers are one of the biggest culprits for energy inefficiency in the home so when it comes to looking at ways to save money and save energy a smart thermostat, an IoT (internet of things) diagnostics device, should be one of the first to be deployed in the home.
The best way to do this is by making boilers smarter, which can be done when paired with an IoT diagnostics device. The good news is that traditional existing boilers instantly become smart when paired with an IoT diagnostics device. These devices connect your heating system to the internet – letting you change the temperature or switch your heating off on your smartphone or other device.
The IoT diagnostics device will make the boiler operation more energy efficient, which is good news for the tenant and also the environment. The device will also help to reduce tenant utility bills as well as a reduce carbon emissions and the impact on the environment.
Damp and mould prevention
Damp and mould within a property can be hazardous to human health and may cause damage to the fabric of the building, which, if left unaddressed, could result in costly repairs. There are many causes of dampness and mould, including condensation resulting from excess water in the air and water leaks.
Again, IoT enabled sensors installed within the home make it possible to monitor the internal conditions and alert property services teams and tenants if action is required to reduce the levels of condensation. By highlighting when additional ventilation is required, the system can mitigate any damp and mould build-up and, therefore, the resulting hazards to human health.
Similarly, leak detection sensors can also be deployed in leak-prone areas such as under baths and washing machines to ensure that any water ingress is quickly identified and dealt with to avoid ongoing damp issues and extensive damage.
By highlighting times at which increased ventilation is required, it is possible to limit how long windows are open, meaning that heating can be used more efficiently.
Additionally, detecting leaks quickly, offers the environmental advantage of reducing excess water consumption. In this way, the sensor data is empowering property teams, tenants and landlords to take action that will positively impact the journey to net-zero.
Maintaining a healthy internal air quality
In addition to causing condensation, poor ventilation can also result in poor internal air quality (IAQ). This may include unhealthy levels of CO2, which can cause fatigue, or conditions that promote the spread of illness. The same IoT enabled sensors can provide real-time insights on the home’s IAQ, including the temperature, humidity levels and CO2 concentration.
If these levels deviate from their optimum, the systems can then alert tenants via the mobile app to take action by opening a window or adjusting the heating. If ventilation problems are persistent, the systems may recommend that changes be made to the building fabric to improve temperature regulation and air flow.
As well as promoting a healthier environment for tenants this data offers landlords and property service teams insight into how the home’s boiler/heating is being operated. Temperatures that are consistently higher than is optimum may indicate an issue with the boiler or how it is being run. A poorly performing or poorly maintained boiler, for example, one that is constantly running or where TRVs are turned off when the boiler is running, all create inefficiency in energy consumption.
By repairing any faults and making suggestions around the ideal temperature settings for the property, it may be possible to develop a healthy IAQ for tenants, reduce energy wastage, and limit the property’s environmental impact.
Housing Digital Stakeholder goldeni is revolutionising the way we manage and maintain our homes. Through a series of connected sensors and devices, goldeni delivers insights into home health, safety and environmental impact.
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