Challenge / Goal
The smart city project SmartEnCity started in Tartu in 2016. Its goal is to make the city environment smart and sustainable, to inspire people to make environmentally conscious decisions and to be easily replicable in other European cities as well. One of the major goals in this project is to demonstrate a comprehensive approach to retrofitting outdated panel buildings according to near zero energy standards.
The smart home system helps resident to monitor their energy consumption which has shown to increase awareness and thus decrease spending. The smart home system helps create a healthy indoor climate by allowing residents to adjust the temperature and ventilation of different rooms.
One of the additional measures besides fully retrofitting Tartu’s pilot area apartment buildings is installing smart home systems in each of the apartments. Generally speaking, the smart home system consists of a gateway (or several), a control panel as well as various sensors and meters that all exchange data through cable or radio communication. More specifically, the smart home solution includes the following elements:
- Gateway – communicates with the meters, sensors and devices installed in the apartments through cable or radio communication;
- Control panel – a tablet computer that is used to control the devices and run the smart home app developed by EnLife;
- Smoke detector – will be mounted on living room ceilings;
- Impulse counters – will be mounted on electricity, water and gas meters and transmit consumption data;
- Smart thermostats – to control room temperature;
- CO2 detector – to control ventilation.
The smart home system will be connected to the Tartu city platform, which is used to exchange data between various stakeholders (residents, housing associations, city of Tartu, University of Tartu, Tartu Regional Energy Agency), devices and platforms. This data will be the basis of empowering the consumers, leading to better decision-making and more energy-efficient behavior. Good data will also help service providers to make better investments and improvements in their value offers.
The collected energy consumption data will thus mainly be used in three ways. Firstly, the data will be used for automatically fine-tuning the parameters of heating and ventilation in the renovated buildings. Secondly, the data will be used for providing end users with direct feedback about their consumption habits. Finally, the data will also be accessible to third parties like SMEs and startups for building up innovative services. The privacy of the end users will have key importance in this process.
The smart home solution for the pilot area apartments has been a continuous source of discussion at citizen engagement events and information meetings. Communicating the solution’s requirements, functionalities, risks, benefits and privacy issues to the pilot area residents has thus had key importance, especially as ca. 20% of these residents are 65+ years old and generally more cautious towards new technologies. Tartu’s local website that addresses the project activities has also seen many questions asked about the smart home solution in the forum. People’s concerns have mostly been related to the process of installing the solution, the functionality of the devices, the associated risks (e.g. electromagnetic radiation rate of the devices) and the related health hazards. Once the smart home system was deployed, a smart home system handbook was created and published both online and delivered to every mailbox of every apartment in the pilot area. Smart home trainings have also taken place and an instruction video has been published on the project website, addressing questions received from the residents. As such, citizen engagement has been a natural part of planning, developing and implementing the smart home solution.
monitor temperature, smoke, indoor air quality and energy consumption using sensor
communicate sensor information through a gateway
analyse information from sensors and provide insights to customers
maintain good indoor air quality and comfort.
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