Two Castles Housing Association has formed a partnership with Capita to install smart sensor monitoring equipment to capture and analyse household data such as air quality, temperature and humidity. The project is said to be one of the first of its kind for the housing sector and will help tackle overheating and fuel poverty, as well as helping to provide services to vulnerable residents.
Rob Brittain, property services director, Two Castles Housing Association, said, “The cost of keeping homes warm is a real issue for too many families across the North of England. The problem is exacerbated in rural communities affected by rising energy prices, poor building stock and high fuel expenditure.
“Many of our tenants tell us how energy efficient their homes are, but once keys are handed over we have no way of demonstrating the actual performance of a property or evaluating which elements are having the greatest impact.
“By using smart monitoring equipment, we can accurately test how well a home is performing from its internal energy usage to external building fabric. This will allow us to identify what features are working well, on top of areas for improvement.”
Two Castles is also monitoring dampness in its properties. Humidity sensors can now report back when a property is becoming damp, allowing for timely intervention before the damp damages the fabric of the building.
Three types of remote sensor monitors were installed and are being tested at Anick View in Hexham, digitally sensing the property’s temperature, humidity, acoustics, carbon monoxide and smoke. Sensors have also been placed on lamp-posts in the street to measure outside air quality and Two Castles is also monitoring power consumption within the properties.
Using similar technology to a smartphone, alerts from the sensors are captured in Capita’s OpenHousing platform where they may initiate a phone call, a visit or appointment. Household data will be collated in OpenHousing over a year-long pilot project; the data will provide Two Castles with an accurate picture of how well each household’s key building features are performing, and will work by measuring the actual internal environment of each property, the power used to create this environment as well as external conditions.