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Domestic Energy Use

Ubisense Case study

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The University of Nottingham and E.ON are carrying out research using Ubisense technology to monitor occupants domestic energy use and behaviour and up with useful results which could be used to reduce the CO2 emissions of future houses by improving their design and development, and influencing the behaviour of occupants in order to reduce their carbon footprint.
It is known that occupants behaviour affects the energy usage in their home. Brenda and Robert Vale (2010) show how a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) reveals how people actually use buildings, rather than how we think they do. To understand better how occupant behaviour relates to energy consumption tests were performed in a test house. The University of Nottingham is conducting a similar test using Ubisense UWB technology by tracking a family of three during their time in the house. Ubisense was chosen because of the many benefits it offers, it has a very high accuracy of 15cm in 2D or 3D space. The tags have long life batteries and low maintenance. It has a very fast response time.

TestThe test is carried out in a typical 1930’s house occupied by a family of three: father, mother and a six-year old daughter. The family’s energy performance is assessed during different stages to adopt a non-intrusive monitoring method. Ubisense sensors are installed at fixed positions around the house to detect Ubisense tags which were worn by the occupants to track their movement, and also attached onto furniture, doors, lights and switches. Each tag has a unique ID number, so when a person moves into the proximity range of the sensor, the system will detect and record this information. For each sensor event an activity is queried, based on house area and energy consumption status through detailed monitored system for each electric socket.

ResultsIn this experiment, data for electricity consumption due to appliances and lighting and for gas consumption had been analysed. It represents a step forward in a detailed investigation of the role of various refurbishment methods to provide better comfort conditions and changes in energy consumption.

The results show that the minimum consumption is during night between 11pm and 7am (see graph above). For certain different times over the day, such as evening, lights turn on in different locations in the house at the same time. It was established that by switching the lights and appliances off when not in use, an 80% reduction in lighting energy could be achieved. Therefore changing our behaviour could make a significant difference.

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