Christian Deilmann, co-founder and chief product officer at tado°, has outlined the measures needed to meet Europe’s and the UK’s climate targets, such as targeting heating and cooling in buildings, which accounts for half of the energy consumption.
New climate targets have made governments across Europe and the UK begin to recognise the scale of this challenge and opportunity through financial incentives and legislation to make homes greener.
A rapid acceleration of energy-efficient measures and a comprehensive digital energy transition are required in 2021 and beyond. The European Green Deal and the UK’s Climate Change Act – Europe’s and the UK’s plan to go carbon neutral by 2050 – is calling for the doubling of the number of energy-efficient renovations in homes.
This means 35 million homes must be renovated to a higher energy efficiency standard by 2030. But this still leaves the vast majority of the over 200 million homes as energy inefficient. One of the key challenges is the high cost of purchasing and retrofitting promoted measures like insulation, heat pumps, and solar panels.
However, society needs to make sure that it starts with the low-hanging fruit which in this case is smart heating and cooling controls. A smart thermostat typically costs under £200 with a payback of one or two years through the energy saved.
Smart thermostats are part of various country-specific laws and subsidy programs, but more consideration is needed in the huge and impactful European Green Deal and Climate Change Act.
Heat pumps are already being installed as standard in large parts of new European and UK buildings and homes. Heat pumps have the capability to only consume a fraction of primary energy compared to what gas or oil heating systems need.
The connectivity of heat pumps and air conditioning systems in combination with intelligent algorithms can result in a paradigm shift. Smarter heating and cooling would revolutionise the way energy is consumed and provide a valuable source of flexibility for regional and national grids.
Europe and the UK need a fully integrated, interconnected and digitised energy market. This flexibility provided to the energy grid paves the way for more renewable energy without the need for backup power plants. The consumption will then react to when the sun shines or the wind blows without affecting comfort inside buildings.
Another part of digitisation is reducing repair and maintenance efforts by half. By remotely monitoring the health and performance of heating and cooling systems, energy utilities and repair service providers can increase operational efficiency.
Rather than wait for a boiler to break down, remote monitoring can inform the user or energy supplier of the issue before it fully materialises. Incidents are minimised and when an engineer does need to do a repair, they already know what the issue is and what parts are required.
This reduces the need to visit the home twice to firstly to identify the issue, and then come back with the right spare parts for the actual repair.
To achieve the wide-scale benefits of digitising the heating and cooling sector, a solution which works for all households independent of the brand or type of heating system is the key.
tado° has partners who provide customers across Europe and the UK with energy and who also repair millions of heating systems every year. There is naturally a wide variety of heating systems from hundreds of manufacturers across large customer bases.
With a cross-manufacturer compatible tado° solution, the company tackles this challenge with the goal that its partners have the chance to offer all their customers the same connectivity solution and a uniform smartphone application.
Moreover, this allows their service centres to manage all their customers’ heating systems in one remote diagnostics tool, and all aggregated systems into one network of demand response load.