A smart gateway, as an essential part of the system, connects the smart home with the outside world. This allows the mobile control of devices in the house from remote places, often through smartphones and microcontrollers. External systems and services can be used for better energy usage regulation. Furthermore, the system can be connected to the smart grid as well as electric charging infrastructure to enable better energy efficiency and billing plans, for example, according to peak-time energy consumption or renewable energy content.
Problems to be solved
Energy inefficiency is a huge problem in residential buildings. In Europe, 26% of the total final energy consumption is consumed in private homes. Smart Home Systems can reduce energy losses and increase the overall security and comfort of occupants while specifically improving the independence of elderly people.
Lack of comfort
Dependency of elderly people
High energy costs
There are several solutions in the context of Smart Home Systems to solve these problems.
Some marketable outcomes that Smart Home Systems provide are:
- Subscription-based services that can generate a constant stream of income
- Big target groups: It can be sold to hospitals and homes for elderly and disabled people, but also for those willing to increase their comfort in a smart home environment
- The gateways can anonymise and provide data to data platforms, to implement effective analytics and long-term improvement as well as product design. The data can be charged, and the analytic services and their results can also be seen as marketable outcomes.
The main goal of the Smart Home System is to reduce the domestic energy demand. In addition, the solution achieves the benefits listed below. Whereas some benefits are likely to be fulfilled with a basic implementation of the solution, the fulfilment of the potential benefits depends on the functions implemented in a specific project.
Reducing GHG emissions
Enhances grid stability
Improving energy usage efficiency
Shaving peak energy demand
Decreasing energy consumption in buildings
Reducing energy bills
Enhanced data collection
Increasing share of renewables
Improving life quality
Functions help you to understand what the products can do for you and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Each Solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the Solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.
shows energy related information
customer can manage heating, cooling, etc.
balance of systems
management of self-produced energy
e.g heating, cooling
regulates in- and output
provides safety and eases use of devices
The technology with the highest presence and is the most promoted in smart homes is the smart meter. A smart meter is a device which records the amount of energy and/or gas consumed in a determined period. This information is sent to the service provider to bill the customer accurately, and it is also used by the client to regulate their energy/gas consumption. The main advantage of a smart meter with an integrated easy-to-read display is that consumers can decide to reduce their consumption level, especially during peak hours.
A motion detector is an electrical device that utilises a sensor to detect nearby motion. They are often used as components of security, automated lighting control, home control and energy efficiency.
This system can, for example, detect the room temperature and respond with starting a fan or heater or opening a window. Moreover, systems that control the temperature depending on the user's daily structure are available.
Alarm systems are devices that signal the occurrence of undesirable events. In private households, they are mostly used to prevent burglary or to alarm the residents and the police.
As the chart shows, the majority of users perceive the main purpose of Smart Home Systems to be controlling energy, heating and appliances. Related to these purposes, the potential benefits are seen in saving energy, time, and money as well as improving comfort while reducing effort.
Main Purposes of smart home technologies (Wilson, Hargreaves, Hauxwell-Baldwin, 2017)
Potential benefits of smart home technologies (Wilson, Hargreaves, Hauxwell-Baldwin, 2017)
As of 2019, cities consume more than two-thirds of the global energy produced. Buildings account for 40% of this demand (IEA, 2020). The demand covers multiple energy consuming activities including space and water heating, cooling, ventilation, cooking and use of appliances. To reach the ambitious goals set forward in the Paris Agreement, it is crucial to reduce the energy consumption in buildings.
Smart homes and energy management systems are key technologies for the implementation of sustainable technologies and the transition of buildings towards an eco-friendly state. The term “smart homes” describes buildings (mostly for residential purposes) that use digital technologies/Internet of Things to offer additional services such as the monitoring of systems, the control of appliances and the optimisation of the operation of appliances (e.g. maximising the usage of onsite-PV generation). While smart homes describe the functionalities on the level of a single residential building, Energy Management Systems (EMS) conduct the operational management of larger energy systems that usually incorporate a multipurpose building or a multitude of buildings and appliances.
While installing Smart Home Systems, a city needs to ensure that the data from the residents is secured and that they feel comfortable with sharing their data. In several cities with smart home projects, residents have had concerns over data privacy.
A stable and reliable data connection is required to send and receive information. Furthermore, cloud management and belonging IT data centre infrastructure is necessary for interconnected smart homes. Additionally, to have an integrated system, it is required that all devices use the same language. In 2015, the European Union created a new standard called SAREF (Smart Appliances REFerence ontology), with the goal of homogenising the market and allowing communication among all devices.
Regarding the use of smart meters, the European Union has established the goal of replacing ‘at least 80% of electricity meters with smart meters by 2020 wherever it is cost-effective to do so’ (Directive 2009/72/EC). For 2020, only a penetration rate of 43% at EU level was predicted to be reached.
The implementation of specific laws for gas and electricity smart meters is quite different between different regions. While three quarters of Member States have adopted legal provisions for the roll-out of electricity smart meters, only a quarter of them has done so for the roll-out of gas smart meters.
The European Commission has introduced the Smart Readiness Indicator (SRI) as a policy instrument aiming to facilitate the smart transformation of the building stock. For this transition, smart homes and building energy management systems play a major role, and their functionalities and services overlap with services associated with the SRI. The smart ready services related to SRI activities are grouped into ten domains as presented in the following figure:
The 10 domains associated with smart ready services of the smart readiness indicator (VITO, Waide Strategic Efficiency, ECOFYS, OFFIS, 2018)
Stakeholder in smart home systems (BABLE, 2021)
In the last few years, the Smart Home industry has grown very fast, with 44 million smart home households in Europe in 2020 compared to 27 million in 2017. Forecasts predict a rise in the number of smart home households to 97 million by 2025.
Number of Smart Homes per segment forecast in Europe from 2017 to 2025 in millions (Digital Market Outlook, 2020, Statista, 2021)
The European Commission assumes to have reached a penetration rate of 43% for smart meters at EU level in 2020. By 2030, 266 million electric smart meters are expected to be installed in the EU. That corresponds to a 92% penetration rate and a total aggregated investment of €46 billion. This is based on a weighted average cost per metering point of €172.
Key figures for different electricity smart meters deployment state of play scenarios (European Commission, 2019)
According to the European Commission, the weighted average cost per gas metering point is €171. While the number of gas smart meters installed in 2020 is estimated as 60 million (51% penetration rate), 51 million gas smart meters are expected for 2024. That represents a 44% penetration rate EU-wide and a total investment of almost €9 billion.
Key figures for different gas smart meters deployment state of play scenarios (European Commission, 2019)
Other elements of Smart Home Systems differ a lot in their costs depending on the producer and the status of implementation.
- Regulation (EU) 2016/679: on the protection of natural persons concerning the processing of personal data and the free movement of such data (EUR-Lex, 2021)
- Directive 2009/72/EC: concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity –promotion of intelligent metering and target of 80% coverage by 2020 (EUR-Lex, 2021)
- Directive 2009/73/EC: concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas –promotion of intelligent metering (EUR-Lex, 2021)
- Directive 2012/27/EU: on energy efficiency (EUR-Lex, 2021)
- Directive (EU) 2016/1148: concerning measures for a high standard level of security of network and information systems across the Union (EUR-Lex, 2021)
- Directive 2006/32/EC: on energy end-use efficiency and energy services (EUR-Lex, 2021)
Renovation of semi-attached homes of housing association using Woonconnect tool
The Use Case aims to involve tenants in the process of renovating and maintaining homes owned by the social housing association Woonbedrijf. The digital 3D-tool WoonConnect allows tenants to see the effects of their behaviour (i.e. showering, heating) and the expected results of the renovation.
Renovation of semi-attached homes of privately owned apartments using woonconnect tool
To achieve energy consumption improvement in the whole area, the consortium also addressed other apartment owners present in the area Eckart Vaartbroek by using the WoonConnect tool for the renovation choice.
Renovation of semi-attached homes of privately owned houses using woonconnect tool
The digital tool WoonConnect is used for the renovation choice in this project, allowing the home owners to see their energy use linked to their day-to-day behaviour and improve their homes.
Smart control of individual floors in existing buildings
Predictive control algorithm was used to independently control floors in a Strijp-S office building.
Active House smart home solution
The Active House smart home solution is an intelligent system with a state of the art graphical user interface. This energy tool raises awareness among tenants on energy consumption from areas including electricity, hot water and apartment heating and encourages them to reduce their consumption.
Smart Home Solution Pilot in Tartu
Through the SmartEnCity project, in addition to retrofitting package that will see Tartu’s pilot area buildings fully renovated, the apartments will be supplied with a smart home system that connects to the Cumulocity cloud platform and enables data exchange and monitoring.
Smart control of individual rooms in existing buildings
With the aim of reducing energy consumption by 20% in the existing office buildings in Strijp-S, an innovative concept has been developed to optimise energy consumption while maintaining user comfort. The system allows interactive monitoring and control of HVAC system via mobile application.
Smart Home Systems for Tenants in Mülheim
The SmartHome app allows tenants to turn off all electrical appliances and lights at any time and from anywhere. This can be done easily at home or on the move. In combination with smart plugs (Smart Meter), tenants can keep track of the current energy consumption of any connected devices.
Intelligent Building: Improved Customer Experience
Creating the ultimate customer experience for building's tenants and building's managers by connecting conversational AI with the building’s devices.