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Home energy tracking app wins Smart Cities Award

Posted 20 September 2019 - 9:50am

A CRC for Low Carbon Living tool developed to visualise indoor thermal comfort and household energy and water (VIHEW) consumption has won the Smart Cities – Committee for Sydney – Award 2019.

The awards celebrate projects and partnerships that address the fundamental challenges faced by cities, governments, communities, industry and the ICT sector in Sydney.

VIHEW, developed by UNSW Built Environment’s Dr Anir Upadhyay, is an integrated platform that informs a household of their real-time indoor thermal environmental conditions and electricity and water consumption patterns.

“Real-time data is collected using the ‘Internet of Things’ meters and sensors, state-of-the-art cloud computing technology and delivers user-friendly information through an interactive dashboard,” said Dr Upadhyay.

VIHEW, which is currently being used in 20 different households, won the Data as an Enabler category of the Smart Cities Awards which is awarded to a platform, initiative, project or strategy that demonstrates how it has created new markets, opportunities or behaviour change through data use.

“VIHEW displays energy consumption of different services – such as lighting, plug loads, air conditioning, water heating and pool pump – and solar energy generation, whilst encouraging households to optimise energy consumption by using energy efficient appliances or through behavioural changes,” said Dr Upadhyay.

“The platform can be used by thousands of houses to receive the personalised service through a password protected unique user identity.” The CRCLCL’s CEO Professor Deo Prasad has VIHEW installed in his own energy efficient home.

“A significant innovation of VIHEW is its personalised approach, presenting indoor thermal comfort conditions via house floor plans, and using simple graphics to illustrate indoor thermal comfort conditions which are cross referenced with air-conditioning energy consumption to highlight issues associated with the building envelope or a household’s thermal preference,” he said.

“You can also use the tool remotely and adjust the comfort of your home to prepare for your arrival and shut down appliances if you have forgotten to do so when you left the house,” said Professor Prasad.

The tool also provides energy performance and total greenhouse gas emissions of buildings post occupancy and compares it with benchmark data such as BASIX in NSW. The information generated could inform government policy and influence development of a targeted energy efficiency program.

Utility companies may also benefit from the household scale energy/water demand and water leakages information.

“We are planning to commercialise the tool in the near future so being nominated for this award is a great step towards this goal,” concluded Dr Upadhyay.

All of the Smart City winners can be viewed here