Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

News

IoT sensors to be installed in 2,400 homes

6 July 2020

A Scottish technology firm backed by housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel has won a £1m deal to install internet of things (IoT) sensors in thousands of homes.

Tech company iOpt will work with Renfrewshire Council to install the monitors in up to 2,400 social homes over four years to measure temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels in properties.

The aim is for the sensors to provide early alerts on problems with ventilation and potential dampness.

The two-year project will begin when lockdown restrictions are eased. It will see sensors fitted into selected empty properties being prepared for new tenants, who will also be supported with energy efficiency advice and guidance.

The initiative has £150,000 of support from the Scottish Government’s “CanDo” Innovation Fund.

iOpt’s lead investor is Mactaggart & Mickel Investments, the investment arm of house builder Mactaggart & Mickel. Corporate investors include Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, plus a US IoT technology leader.

iOpt managing director Dane Ralston said: “We believe the contract with Renfrewshire Council has made IoT history and shows that Scotland is a world leader in the field.

“The technology we have developed is cost-effective, will deliver savings for local authorities at a time of financial uncertainty and help some of the most vulnerable tenants maintain a warm, healthy environment in their own home.

“More than ever, the world is changing at great pace, and we see remote asset monitoring of this kind as a key addition to any energy efficient home. To date, our studies have shown savings of approximately £190 per year per property.”

Minister for trade, investment and innovation Ivan McKee said: “During these unprecedented times it is hugely encouraging to see Scotland continue its proud tradition of world-leading innovation.

“iOpt’s pioneering IoT technology, being delivered in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, is a fantastic example of how innovation and collaboration can help people live healthy lives at home, supported by remote monitoring.”

Comments

This project is welcomed as big data is a must to be shared but it should really take stock of the plethora of research studies and IOT programmes out there and conducted as far back as the 1960’s if it wants to arrive at a robust advice strategy for the client and residents. My starting point would be a discussion with the Building Performance Network, Salford
University, Leeds Beckett University, UCL etc, so as not to provide yet another bunch of data that has no hypothesis or reliance on the many other ares that may not be being assessed such as occupancy behaviour, workmanship, wind, solar
Gain, cold bridging and interstitial condensation causing dampness, amongst numerous other building physics influences. That’s not to say it isn’t robust of course just a safety check would be useful.

The current state of the insulation measures will be a key driver in order to asses why the buildings are not performing if thats the conclusion and this requires a greater understanding of the technologies used in providing any retrofit measure assessment.

Mike Ormesher, 12 July 2020