The Climate-friendly Housing Companies project aims to improve energy efficiency through the utilisation of data collected with the help IoT.
Heating accounts for the majority, approximately 70%, of the energy consumption of blocks of flats. What’s more, blocks of flats typically include little in the way of technology for actively monitoring heating based on actual needs. As such, Motiva estimates that as much as a third of the energy used for heating ends up being wasted. Luckily the solutions to address this can be quite simple: adjustment of the heating network, the renewal of a water circulation pump or a change in the adjustment curve’s limit value. However, identifying the right corrective measure requires expertise, and slowly accumulating energy loss is not the kind of acute problem that housing companies are likely to prioritise.
Collecting property data
In recent years, the property market has seen an influx of new companies offering a wide range of IoT sensor solutions and analysis services. However, questions related to the ownership of collected data and changing service providers later down the line are not always easy to solve, since the solutions are typically proprietary. Luckily the improved level of data security brought about by the implementation of the GDPR in May has helped shine a light on the question of ownership, as sensor data collected at home is now considered personal data that can be used to deduce a number of details. At the housing company level, these kinds of services raise both interest and concerns, as the processing of the data and associated security practices must be professional and transparent.
The 6Aika project Climate-friendly Housing Companies launched in September 2018 aims at increasing awareness of these very issues. The project involves testing IoT sensors to collect observations that can provide a better understanding of a building’s energy efficiency. To analyse these observations, the project is seeking service providers capable of refining this type of data into concrete recommendations for long term planning, for example. The project focuses particularly on questions of ownership of data and making sure that residents have a genuine opportunity to decide on where the data collected from their flat ends up. Another natural target group is property managers.
Collaboration between cities
The project partners are the cities of Helsinki and Vantaa, who are responsible for the pilot sites; HSY Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority, who are responsible for the energy counselling perspective; Forum Virium Helsinki, who are focusing on questions related to data and platforms; and Green Building Council Finland , who are contributing via their extensive networks of contacts with industry companies. The project will run until the end of 2020. This will provide enough time to monitor participating properties for two whole heating seasons, with the focus during the first being on data collection and the second on the utilisation of data in a way that provides clearly measurable energy savings. The project will culminate in the publication of a digital guide for housing companies, which will provide more detailed information on the potential of data and its collection while also taking privacy into account.