VolkerWessels, the second largest construction company of the Netherlands, has decided to change its housing production in the coming years to 100% zero energy bill houses. Contractually they want to guarantee and prove to the tenants and buyers that these houses indeed do not use any energy.
VolkerWessels will built these houses throughout the Netherlands and possibly also in Germany. The volume will be approximately 1,000 houses per year and when the market allows, up to 3,000 per year.
The design of the houses is, looking from the outside, typical Dutch. Meaning row houses, or semi-detached houses, with front and back yards, 5 rooms, and 134m2 living space.
VolkerWessels sells these houses with a warranty. This warranty is formulated such that the houses, as a system, do not use any energy over the year. A certain amount of energy is reserved for the daily appliances families use, like washing, drying, TV, cooking etc. The latter is especially known to vary a lot from family to family, literature reports differences of a factor of 4 between families with equal composition.
In the buyers/tenant contract, VolkerWessels will formulate user boundaries for the use of the houses. If you go beyond these, the warranty will cease to exist.
From a technical perspective, heat pumps and balanced ventilation units need proper settings and maintenance. Optimal settings may even slightly change over time, equipment may break down and other unexpected events may occur. All of these jeopardize the performance of the houses and need immediate action.
This calls for monitoring of all the produced houses and to have insight which houses perform as expected form an energy perspective, and which inhabitants use the houses out of the contract barriers. A helpdesk is in place for that task.
From a consumer perspective, showing the actual performance and energy consumption of the houses will help to give transparency to the inhabitants.
In domestic applications like this VolkerWessels case, a small controller was installed in each house. Each installation component is connected to the controller, mostly wired. The interface protocols vary. Since no changes have been made to the installation components, the communication is done using the interface options that the equipment provides. From the installation components all logging is gathered: settings, internal variables, alarms etc.
An additional set of energy meters are added to gather information on the energy usage of washing, drying and cooking - on top of the usage of the installation components and the overall consumption given by the smart meter.
Through this the controller gathers around 200 parameters each minute for each house. Over the years, the volume of data gathered will increase therefore to around a million data elements per minute for all the houses that VolkerWessels will then have produced and that will be under monitoring.
The controller communicates with the BaseN Platform over the broadband connection of the house. When data is received in the platform, any visualising, calculation, alarm and other process can be configured in the platform. No data is ever lost, all data is stored from day 1 onwards, recording the entire lifecycle of the house. Any calculation or analysis can be done backwards in time, allowing for scenario analysis. Also forecasts can be created.
The availability to all the gathered information in different portal views is highly important, since the risk involved here can be directly translated to financial risk on the balance sheet of VolkerWessels. To facilitate this, maps are generated showing the statuses of all houses, giving an overview of all monitored houses in a quick glance and allowing to detail down to the basic issues behind quickly. All of these generated views and helpdesk portals can be modified by VolkerWessels themselves.