As electricity prices continue to soar and the climate crisis becomes increasingly urgent, the need to be more energy efficient is greater than ever before.
This has led Morgan Sindall Property Services (MSPS) to pilot the use of the AI platform, Voltaware, to support social housing tenants in managing their energy usage.
goldeni’s Information Systems Director Phil Copperwheat discusses the benefits electricity disaggregation technologies like Voltaware bring to social housing landlords and tenants. Helping them to reduce the impact of rising energy prices by identifying inefficiencies within the home that, with a small change, can bring financial reward for the tenants and reduce carbon impact, contributing to a social housing landlord’s decarbonisation efforts.
The Voltaware Platform
While traditional smart meters track how much energy is used and when, Voltaware offers tenants a fuller picture of their electricity consumption. Using its disaggregation algorithm and data from the patented sensor, the Voltaware system tracks energy usage at appliance level and delivers this information to the tenant via a mobile app.
This data highlights the household activities that contribute to the property’s overall energy consumption and helps residents understand which appliances are costing them money unnecessarily. Tenants can then work with these insights to make meaningful behavioural changes that will positively impact both their energy use and their cost of living.
MSPS Voltaware Pilot
During our Voltaware pilot, the team at MSPS installed a Voltaware device on a residential property and gathered data over a four-week period. The insights that were generated by the platform uncovered several energy-saving opportunities.
When reviewing the data, it was found that appliances that are left on standby mode are a key contributor to the property’s energy wastage. Computers, televisions, and gaming stations are often left on standby, and this habit can be costly. Through the Voltaware insights, we identified that 23% of the total energy consumption for the home tested was a result of appliances being left on standby mode rather than being switched off or shut down.
According to Loop, the energy wastage associated with appliances left on standby can equate to a cost of £86 per year. Now that this information is visible, the tenants can make a small change to their behaviour to reduce their bills and lower their home’s energy use.
The next most crucial behavioural change highlighted by the Voltaware insights is to ensure that appliances are switched off in unoccupied rooms. Lamps and televisions are frequently left on while tenants are in other rooms, at work or asleep. This wasted energy carries both a financial and an environmental cost that is easily eliminated.
The data can also highlight appliances that are not working at their optimum through the Voltaware appliance health checks. This pinpoints any items, such as ovens and washing machines, requiring maintenance or no longer operating efficiently. Providing tenants with this information to repair or replace their appliance with a more efficient model could help them save hundreds of pounds each year.
A study by Which? showed that using more energy-efficient kitchen appliances could save tenants and homeowners up to £308 a year in wasted energy.
Building a Greener Future
The data delivered by the Voltaware devices may also be used to help in our ongoing mission to decarbonise our residential properties. By highlighting improvements that could be made to the building operations and fabric and identifying appliances that are no longer efficient, it will be possible to make informed changes and then evidence the energy savings made as a direct result. The portability of the devices means that it is possible to move them between properties as we work towards our carbon neutrality commitments.
With a further price increase set to take place in October 2022, tenants and homeowners must have the information they need to take control of their energy use.
We are now looking forward to working with Voltaware and supporting them in developing their artificial intelligence and looking to roll the capability out to commercial office space and homes going through net-zero journeys.
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