Smart Grid News and Analysis

IoT World Forum 2018
IoT World Forum 2018

E.ON expands testing of ground breaking smart home technologies in Thinking Energy trial


E.ON and Milton Keynes Council announce one year extension to Thinking Energy trial. The pioneering technology connects mobile and ‘Internet of Things’ with energy management in the home.

E.ON and Milton Keynes Council are set to continue their testing of ground breaking smart home technologies, representing a significant innovation and development for the energy industry. This follow’s E.ON’s announcement that it has extended its European partnership with GreenWave Reality for smart home solutions.1

Thinking Energy, a joint interactive trial between E.ON and Milton Keynes Council, launched in 2011 and involves 75 family homes in Milton Keynes. It aims to develop and test innovative ways to manage energy use in the home, bringing improved comfort, convenience and cost savings to the homeowners.

By making it easier for people to understand and take control of their energy use, trial participants are currently able to view their energy data via a web browser, tablet or smartphone app on the go.

Now, participants are being supported to explore the benefits mobile technologies can bring to managing energy in new areas; homes are being fitted with the following internet-connected technologies and E.ON will investigate the potential benefits from:

Connected Lighting
Participants will be able to control lighting throughout their homes at the touch of a button via a mobile device and simply activate an ‘out’ smart control to turn off all the lights in their home when they go out, rather than having to go from room to room. Smart controls will also allow people to customise their lighting so they can set lights to come on automatically at dusk and go off at dawn. All these features are delivered through controllable, dimmable LED lamps which typically use about 80% less energy than equivalent incandescent or halogen lamps.

Intelligent Boiler Controls
Participants will be able to save energy by using intelligent heating controls which can set different temperatures at different times of day – maximising comfort whilst reducing gas bills. At the same time, a remote control allows them to adjust their settings to avoid waste when their plans for the day change. The intelligent controller will also put an end to coming back from holiday to a cold house with no hot water for that much-needed shower.

Room-by-Room Heating
The Thinking Energy trial will also explore room-by-room heating controls, to allow participants to ensure that each room is heated according to need. Bedrooms can be heated early in the morning and late at night, lounge and living rooms maintained at a constant comfort level, and heating in the spare bedroom turned off when no-one’s visiting.

The addition of the above smart home technologies provide greater visibility and build on the technologies already installed in the participants’ homes, based on Greenwave Reality’s ‘Home2Cloud’ platform. This technology includes Home Energy Management Systems which monitor electricity and gas consumption by using smart meters, and smart plugs which monitor and control the use of individual appliances such as TVs, PCs, washing machines and fridges.

Simon Church, Delivery Manager for E.ON’s Thinking Energy project, said: “We’re dedicated to driving innovation to help our customers control their energy use and use no more energy than they need and ground breaking technology is playing a key role in achieving this.

“Nearly two-thirds of people in our trial view their Home Energy Management technologies as a necessary part of their life and this is just the beginning. With the advancements around the ‘Internet of Things,’ we’ll continue to develop technology which is focused on what our customers want and need to gain greater visibility into and control of their energy use.”

Cllr David Hopkins, Milton Keynes Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member responsible for Economic Development and Enterprise, said: “This project is crucial in enabling people in Milton Keynes to use their energy smartly and significantly cut their associated costs. In times where people are managing on tight budgets and reducing the carbon footprint is a priority, this is clearly a ‘win-win’ situation.”

Greg Memo, Greenwave’s CEO, added: “E.ON has an acute understanding that people have a strong desire to increase their home comfort and energy efficiency, but in an easy and convenient fashion. GreenWave is proud to be the underlying smart home technology platform to support this broader roll-out of innovative energy management solutions throughout Europe.”