Energy management pilot starts in Cardiff


Residents have moved into pilot homes at The Mill in Cardiff as part of FLATLINE, a research project examining a demand-side approach to energy management at domestic level.

Backed by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the Fixed Level Affordable Tariffs Led by Intelligently Networked Energy (FLATLINE) project aims to use a combination of domestic Demand Side Response and demand shifting for both heat and electricity to significantly reduce energy bills..

The three homes will be followed by a further 46 homes at a separate site, Parc Eirin in Tonyrefail – which will see first residents move in later this year.

The project is being coordinated by Sero which will provide its intelligent home comfort service to the residents, working with energy optimisation software developer PassivSystems. A number of other industry partners are involved in the project including Tirion Homes, Pobl Group, Western Power Distribution, Sonnen and Mixergy.

Residents will use Sero’s new app, which will control the energy network for each home, and intelligently draw, discharge and anticipate energy demands, almost completely avoiding the National Grid at peak times using Octopus Energy’s proprietary Agile API, saving money and carbon intensive energy.

To achieve this the schemes will use a mix of energy technologies including ground source heat pumps, thermal and electrical storage in the homes, photovoltaic generation and smart controls for residents.

Using residents’ preferences – such as their chosen room temperature, hot water needs and overall lifestyle – Sero will forecast energy demands as well as generation using intelligent software. This will control in-home energy storage to shift the impact of energy demands on the grid, using factors like weather and behaviours, to inform the algorithms that run the systems.

James Williams, Managing Director of Sero, said: “The FLATLINE concept proposes a win-win-win scenario: flexible and intelligently-managed energy use resulting in significantly lower bills to home occupants – practically eliminating the risk of fuel poverty; electrical demands on the National Grid being shifted entirely off-peak to help support renewables on the grid; all whilst delivering lower carbon emissions in a new UK business model that can lead to growth at home and abroad.

“This demonstration phase of FLATLINE will show the world what we can achieve using the technology we have today, providing a springboard to evidence the viability of this future ‘comfort as a service’ business model.”

Colin Calder, CEO of PassivSystems, said: “Having the opportunity through FLATLINE to  demonstrate a whole home energy management solution, bespoke for newbuild homes, has been a great opportunity for us. Seeing first residents beginning to use the intelligent control systems installed at The Mill is a real highlight in our journey to help decarbonisation, and a culmination of many months of hard work. It draws on our extensive expertise of delivering optimum comfort at minimal costs for residents, while reducing the impact on the grid and the environment.

“The government has been challenging home builders to put the environmental credentials of homes at the heart of the design, and FLATLINE provides a real world blueprint for how this could be done.”

The project is supported by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy competition for Domestic Demand Side Response. The Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme has also supported delivery of the The Mill pilot homes and Parc Eirin.

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