Articles

Using Data Loggers to Help Improve Home Energy Efficiency

Tinytag temperature data loggers have been playing a part in indoor energy monitoring in an energy-related housing retrofit scheme.

With growing concern about the need to improve energy efficiency in the home, Tinytags were used in a project to assess energy usage and comfort in domestic properties before and after an energy-related retrofit scheme.

Engineering consultants Green Energy Partners, working in conjunction with Edinburgh-based housing association Castle Rock Edinvar, have used Tinytag data loggers for energy measurement and verification in domestic properties.

Castle Rock Edinvar is planning an upgrade of a housing development comprising eight one bedroom flats in a village in Midlothian. Tinytags were used as part of the data collection process, to identify the current comfort levels (temperatures) in their properties, and estimate their annual spending on electric space heating. The loggers were used to identify the room temperatures that the tenants maintained in their properties, and for how long each day. This allowed Castle Rock Edinvar's Home Energy Advice Team to understand the behaviour of the tenants, and provide suitable advice for homes that were under- or over-heated.

Eight Tinytag Ultra 2 loggers were used to gather data on the temperature of each living room (positioned away from heaters and windows) over a period of one month. Analysis of the results allowed Castle Rock Edinvar to identify the current level of thermal comfort in each home. Coupled with limited electrical logging, they were able to discern which tenants used their storage heaters, and which used plug-in electric heaters, which has a significant impact on current heating costs. The results will be used for comparison against a new heating system when it is installed, to identify how tenants control their new central heating system, and how their levels of comfort and energy costs compare.

Calum Brockway, Project Officer in the Planned Maintenance Team at Castle Rock Edinvar commented, "Tinytags were recommended to us by Green Energy Partners to fulfil our requirements for logging over long periods of time frequently and cost-effectively. The results, when displayed in a graph, were very interesting and provided a real insight into how eight people in eight similar-sized flats consumed their heating fuel. It is a great way of ensuring we provide accurate advice to tenants who suffer high fuel costs."

David Kane, Engineering Manager at Green Energy Partners concluded, "The information from the temperature logging clarifies where switching from electrical heating to gas- or biomass-fired boilers will provide an economic and relatively environmentally friendly solution. Perhaps more significantly, it has confirmed the usefulness of temperature logging in electrically-heated properties in projects such as these."

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