Jen Arnold, Retrofit Customer Advisor for Platform with Martin Claridge from Project Heating Solutions installing the new Switchee Device at a customer’s home.
A housing association in the Midlands has reported a positive start to a project using new smart thermostats to monitor some of their homes.
Platform Housing Group is installing 300 of the Switchee devices in selected homes in their stock with the aim of gathering data to help improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality for their customers.
The devices control central heating but can also monitor humidity levels and heat usage within the homes. Furthermore the Platform Housing Group can also communicate with the residents with messages via the devices smart touch screen. Since the start of the year, the installations, carried out by Project Heating Solutions, have seen many benefits in a short space of time.
Joan Tyler, who lives in Worcestershire was one of the Platform residents to get the device installed in her property as part of a raft of measures to improve the energy efficiency of her home. It will monitor the humidity levels in her home and eventually help with controlling the temperature when she gets an air source heat pump installed by the landlord.
“We’ve never had gas here and I have lived with a coal fired system up to now, which is expensive and hard to maintain. I’ve never had this kind of central heating before, so I’m really looking forward to pressing that button.”
In another instance, a customer’s device reported to the Platform team that the average temperature was not rising above 12 degrees in their home. They were able to trigger an alert of potential fuel poverty and send a neighbourhood officer to the resident to investigate.
Lisa Fairlie, Director of Housing Operations said,
“Cases like this are one of the main reasons the Switchee rollout has been great for our customers already. The officer was able to speak with the resident about their heating situation and found out why the average temperature was so low – in this instance the customer worked shifts that didn’t require heating to be on at the usual times. Being able to monitor this data and respond quickly means we can make really well-informed decisions about how to help customers.”
The group has received funding from the first wave of grants from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund which in turn has meant the project and other retrofit measures can be realised. A second wave of funding has recently been released which will see more opportunities for landlords like Platform to continue improving their homes.
Jen Arnold, Retrofit Customer Advisor at Platform said,
“Monitoring the thermal quality of our homes is vital as we progress through improving their efficiency. Switchee devices can tell us how long it takes for a home to heat up and how quickly it disappears. They will also tell us about humidity levels and help us identify the risk of condensation, damp and mould. That insight will mean we can be proactive about applying different measures to keep homes warm and energy efficient for our customers.”
As the project continues, Platform will be able to monitor the thermal efficiency of a home following any kind of work that has been done to monitor the effectiveness and provide residents with information and advice.