An innovative technology to understand how well a home holds temperature. Unobtrusive Onsite-Insight devices yield powerful feedback to help improve energy-efficiency outcomes.
Smart Onsite-Insight modelling of internal and external data, with comparison to similar homes
Expected gains from improvement options, plus coaching in methods of assessment, Feedback on upgrades, with time-period comparison
Traffic light ratings to communicate outcomes and data reliability, At a glance analysis and recommendations
Onsite-Insight is new technology designed and developed by Empower Energy Systems. Onsite-Insight combines energy-harvesting batteryless sensors with a central hub and uses cloud-based software to convert large volumes of data from the house and the outside environment into robust and elegant feedback on the home’s heat retention performance. For easy understanding, outcomes are graphically displayed using traffic light ratings (for good, moderate and poor) by comparison to the Heat Loss Parameter for both that specific house and also a typical UK house of that era and type.
Onsite-Insight will be of particular interest to the social housing landlord, who wishes to remotely monitor housing stock heat retention performance. Assurance that effective insulation and airtightness are being delivered will go a long way to fulfilling the social landlord’s responsibility towards combatting fuel poverty. In addition, the ability to assess performance robustly enables future upgrades to be planned for greatest effect (e.g. which is the worst performing 20% of the housing stock?), as well as to monitor the improvements that have resulted from recent investments
Installation and maintenance could hardly be easier; it really is plug and play. The wall monitor devices are lightweight PV-powered devices, using radio comms, so no cables and no batteries to worry about. The hub is a low-power device, plugged into the mains and connected to the client router. Critical data on the property attributes will be input to ensure that the data is correctly categorised and analysed, and if not already known by the landlord, this can be input via installer app during the installation visit.
Nearly, but not quite. Empower is currently fine-tuning the technology and will be recruiting up to 20 social housing providers to collaborate in large-scale trials over winter 2017, with a view to commercial roll-out in autumn 2018.
The primary user is the social housing provider managing a high volume of properties, seeking to get robust objective feedback on home energy-efficiency performance.
EPC ratings are essentially a design-based approach, indicating what a building’s performance in theory. By contrast, Onsite-Insight uses real world data to determine actual performance. Because the outcomes can be compared to the expectation from EPC, Onsite-Insight is fundamentally complementary to EPC, closing a feedback loop, and providing clients with robust data that prompts action. Feedback to SAP, the procedures underlying EPCs, may also be a useful side-benefit in due course.
In volume the Onsite-Insight solution will be less than £100, plus annual licence of £15 per dwelling.
This is an area for future development. The potential benefit in enhancing performance and upgrading standards is promising.
There are potential gains for occupant in getting on-line temperature and humidity data, for carers and relatives of elderly relatives and friends to check home comfort levels, and also for landlords in receiving alerts for items such as mould risk (caused by combination of low temperature and high humidity).
The Onsite-Insight system works by analysing large volumes of data over an extended period. Clever algorithms have been developed to compensate for a wide range of factors, such as external weather conditions, unusual heating patterns etc, and these work best if data is gathered for an entire winter season. So the design solution is necessarily a long-term one, and robust results will usually take a full winter to derive.
Interesting question! As a topical analogy the diesel car emissions scandal over the past few years has highlighted the risk of over-relying on one-off data, however carefully measured. The beauty of Onsite-Insight lies in its real-life basis, providing evidence of what the occupant experiences. And because weather, homes and occupant behaviour are each complex and variable, it is especially important to measure outcomes to best understand on the underlying property performance. Doing this in a cost-effective and robust way is the biggest challenge that the Onsite-Insight solution is designed to overcome.
© Empower Energy Systems 2020