Home / Blog / Tagged: IoT devices

Combatting Damp and Mold Problems in the UK By Using Multiple Smart Device

Combatting Damp and Mold Problems in the UK By Using Multiple Smart Device

A long-standing issue for UK housing market

The rapid adoption of IoT devices in UK housing is setting the beginning of a new era in dealing with the dampness and mold in buildings. Technology-enabled solutions such as environmental sensors that measure temperature, humidity, and CO2 are becoming increasingly common for dealing with these issues. Considering that the English Housing Survey (EHS) for 2021-22 identified 935,000 households in England alone grappling with severe damp problems, the advantages for residents are clear: improved living conditions and a safer indoor environment.

Rather than dealing with occupants' health problems and costly renovations down the line, landlords and real estate companies managing thousands of buildings are shifting toward a proactive approach to detecting and addressing potential problems before they become severe. Data from LoRaWAN hardware devices like the ones mentioned above are helping them to allocate resources strategically and save renovation and maintenance costs.

Assessing the severity of the damp and mold problems

Mold and dampness can cause serious health issues among the vulnerable segments of society — children and the elderly, who are still affected by it. Research indicates that mold exposure can worsen respiratory issues, trigger asthma, and potentially contribute to the development of dementia. In retrofitting older buildings, prioritizing indoor air quality becomes crucial for the occupants' well-being and therefore for property managers. Additionally, it's crucial not to overlook the psychological impact of residing in such environments. Studies have revealed a significant connection between living in damp, mould-infested conditions and mental health problems.

Government Recommendations to Improve Residential Safety

The UK has stringent regulations regarding indoor air quality and health and safety in residential properties. Due to some tragic events leading to the death of a 2 years old child that got a lot of publicity, the Housing Ombudsman in the UK highlighted good practices including the implementation of:
• Humidity and temperature sensors
• Specialist damp & mold teams
• Root cause analysis modelling
• Dedicated damp & mold dashboard
• Staff training
• Dedicated apps for reporting issues
These sensors would serve as an early warning system, flagging when a property is at risk of mold growth. Moreover, the Ombudsman emphasizes the importance of utilizing data collected by these sensors to facilitate predictive modelling. This approach could potentially enable housing providers to proactively identify properties at risk, preventing the onset of severe damp and mold issues.

Managing Tenant Satisfaction and Cost Efficiency in Real Estate

As a result of worries related to mold and dampness, the overall contentment of private home renters can decline to 64%, as indicated by EHS. Consequently, real estate companies are compelled to confront the challenges associated with these issues in their properties. Providing a comfortable and healthy living environment with IoT devices helps them retain tenants, reducing turnover and associated expenses. Taking action to mitigate mold and dampness in their early stages is considerably more cost-effective than conducting extensive remediation later. Humidity and temperature sensors not only help property managers save on repair and renovation expenses but also can aid in optimizing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems implementing energy-efficient HVAC settings, reducing energy consumption and operational costs.

The Crucial Role of Smart Sensors

In the battle against dampness and mold, sensors are becoming crucial. According to retrofit guidelines like PAS 2035, EESSH 2, and ORP in Wales, incorporating sensors is emphasized as a best practice to ensure that homes function as intended following any form of intervention, be it maintenance or retrofit measures. Sensors like the MClimate HT Sensor LoRaWAN and MClimate CO2 Display LoRaWAN strategically installed in common problem areas such as kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms can monitor key indicators that contribute to mold formation and effectively prevent it. The MClimate Enterprise buildings management platform can be used to create a digital twin of any building connecting all the MClimate LoRaWAN devices and make dashboards and rules for easy tracking of the data of the property. The regular analytics and reports generated in the platform help predicting the underlying root cause of mold and damp appearance, whether it’s lack of adequate ventilation or other contributing factors. The ability to control these devices remotely via the Enterprise platform also enables the configuration of notifications for instances where specific indicators surpass normal levels. Even minor leaks from old pipes could potentially lead to mold issues within the properties. To address this possibility the real estate managers can install the Flood Sensor LoRaWAN and T-Valve LoRaWAN to detect even the smallest leaks and promptly halt them, averting expensive damages.
In the battle against dampness and mold, sensors and building management platforms are now indispensable tools for the property managers.

The Next Era of Housing: Scalable IoT Solutions

The acceleration of the smart technology revolution is reshaping the potential of real estate in the UK. Property managers can now harness a range of IoT devices to effectively address mold and dampness issues, ensuring tenant satisfaction and retention, while also achieving cost savings and preventing property damages.


Sources: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/english-housing-survey-2021-to-2022-housing-quality-and-condition/english-housing-survey-2021-to-2022-housing-quality-and-condition

The Future Of Utilities And IoT

The Future Of Utilities And IoT

How Utility Companies Can Benefit From Smart Home Devices

The rise of the renewable source connected to the grid, the development of distributed energy resource (DER) solutions, energy markets deregulation, technology innovations, new customers’ behavior, etc. are changing the traditional business model of electric utilities.

Electricity demand is slowing down

According to Eurostat report in the between 2004 and 2014 household electricity consumption fell by 1,3 % in all EU-28 countries. There was a great reduction in Belgium (almost 29%), Sweden and UK (more than 10%). The trend of decreasing electricity demand has been observed in Germany since 2011 too. Total electricity demand in U.S.A. is projected to keep slowing down between 2016 and 2040 according to Annual Energy Outlook 2017. The reasons for this trend are different but the most important are: regulatory energy efficiency measures, as well as innovative household devices (e.g. smart home solutions) and new appliance standards.

DER solutions and independent communities

There is a growing number of energy communities in the USA which are considered to be “green power communities” – cities, villages or counties in which the local government, business, and residents collectively use green power. The European Federation of renewable energy cooperative -REScoop.eu has already a member network of 1,250 renewable co-operatives and their 650,000 citizens.

Energy efficiency policies help households save money on energy bills

EU is in the process of updating its Energy Efficiency Directive which purpose is to set 30% energy efficiency target by 2030. The reports show that energy intensity in EU industry decreased by 16 % between 2005 and 2014. In the meanwhile European households are expected to save almost 465 euros annually from electricity bills due to more efficient appliances.

New customers

Electric utilities experience customer behavioral changes. According to the latest Accenture’s (https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-new-energy-consumer-thriving-new-retail-ecosystem) Energy Consumer Research:
  • 82 % from interviewed customers would be more satisfied if offered an in-home system that automatically limits electricity usage at peak periods.
  • 79% percent would be more satisfied if offered an in-home device providing energy usage feedback and suggesting customized products and services.
  • 61 % would sign up for an app that can remotely monitor and control home elements
Citizens are becoming more active and demanding. The prosumers (electricity consumers who produce their own energy) do require more energy democracy and are pushing the transformation of energy markets.

Technology innovations

Due to new technologies and connected renewables, the grid is turning from a “wire for electricity” to a platform with connected devices, prosumers, smart meters, electric vehicles. Data collection and analytics, smart and interconnected devices will allow advanced energy management and smarter energy use, reducing utilities’ kWh sales even further.

The “utility death spiral”

All these factors are just a part of the big picture of the energy revolution that is going on. Peter Klein calls them “disruptive challenges”. When grid costs go up while in the same time capital costs for renewables go down, more customers are willing to be energy self-supplied. This leads to higher grid costs for the remaining customers who will have the reason to also leave the grid. In the meanwhile assets’ maintenance costs are a permanent part of the utility budget. This repetitive process is called the “utility death spiral”
In order to escape from the utility death spiral, traditional electric utilities need to adopt new business models and go out of the box. Smart home devices offer differеnt ways for saving utilities operational costs or improving customers’ engagement. Here are some examples:
  • Demand response: Smart thermostats like Nest or devices like Bobbie help utility companies to develop demand response programs and shave the peaks, as well as lower the costs for balancing the grid.
  • Customer behavior tracking: through smart home devices utilities can collect ” behind -the- meter” data about their customers’ behavior at home and develop personalized tariffs and energy engagement programs.
  • Sales business opportunities: already many utilities are selling third party’s smart devices and products to their customers and thus generate additional revenues, e.g Italian multi-utility Estra, San Diego Gas and Electric, Scotish utility, etc.
Smart home devices give a great opportunity to utilities to grow by developing new services (e.g help customers manage electricity bills) or managing their costs (e.g. demand response). However, electric utility companies do not need to become IoT market players but establish partnerships with third party companies providing home automation and take advantage of the growing home automation market.