Users are a particularly important element of the ASCR research project, as ultimately they control how much energy their building requires and thus to what extent it can offer flexibilities. 111 households are participating in the research programme. They have given their written consent that their energy consumption data and ambient air control system data (electricity, hot and cold water, room temperature, room air quality, etc.) can be used for research purposes.
Why are user data vital for ASCR?
The aim is to find out how the buildings work in an optimal way. Using real time data will allow us to discover how buildings really function and thus help us to plan for the future. Accordingly, the partnership and cooperation with users will continue until 2018.
Smart MCT and innovative products and services
As the basis for home automation, smart measuring and control technology (smart MCT) is installed in the participating households. It controls the air quality and temperature of the premises with the aim to optimise the living comfort in the residence. Users can control their home automation either from home or remotely using a tablet or smartphone. They can also test innovative products and services to control their individual energy consumption. From summer 2017, ASCR customers will be able to try out new tariffs developed on the basis of the research.
The objective is also to promote sustainable, costefficient and energy-efficient user behaviour by means of raising awareness and incentive systems. Up to now, the paradigm has been that generation follows consumption. It must be possible, in the future, to bring consumption more into line with renewable energies.
Interim results in the Smart User research area
Over 30 percent of users regularly control their home automation using the app.
A survey at the school campus revealed a high level of satisfaction (88 percent) with the building. The building was given an even better rating at the student home. Everybody questioned indicated that they were either satisfied or very satisfied.
Interaction with the users and their willingness to cooperate work very well.
In 2015, 84 households participated in a study on the subject of energy, technology and sustainability. 48 percent of participants proved to have the technical skills and to be interested in the topic of energy.
The Smart Home Control app has been available since December 2016. Over 50 percent of the users questioned had a positive opinion about the app. Over half of everyone questioned uses the app every two or three days or more frequently. The app is used for around one hour a week, on average.
An interview with Susanne Geissler (Smart User research area):
Q: How are users involved in the research project?
A: User data are particularly important for ASCR in order to be able to develop energy services and offerings in a targeted fashion. We would like to better understand how residents use the smart systems in the apartments, and where there is a need for improvement. In apartment block D12, we have the possibility to test solutions to see how suitable they are for everyday use. To this end, we make use of survey and other social science methods to collect readings at the apartment level and interpret these in combination with the findings of the surveys. Ultimately, technology should not only improve energy efficiency, but above all make people’s lives easier.
Q: Is the cooperation with users successful?
A: Yes, for two reasons. Firstly, over half of the households in D12 agreed to make their data available and to participate in surveys and workshops This participation rate is very high and has remained constant throughout the project. Secondly, ASCR can determine how much willingness there is to use innovative technologies, which needs exist and how the technologies provided are accepted and used.
Q: Which findings are already available?
A: It became clear that only a small proportion of the users are interested in the technical details of the energy system. The topics of cost savings and internal air quality are much more interesting for them – simple instructions here are well-received. As such, we can see the importance of the (partial) automation of energy management in residences. At the building level, it has emerged that the supply of urban, decentralised energy from renewable sources means connecting the housing sector with the energy industry. To this end, we have identified another group of smart users in the smart city, i.e. property developers.