50% of Carbon in the UK come from heating/cooling. Our colleges have rather dated heating systems where mere installation of smart meters and control systems are either prohibitively costly or impossible. As a result, many rooms are often heated even when there are no occupants. Our solution hopes to address this by highlighting rooms that are unneccessarily heated or even identifying heaters with faulty control systems.
What it does
The Seenergy solution consists of a standalone unit that can be placed in any room. It is capable of detecting the presence of people inside the room as well as record the room temperature. This information can be uploaded to a web services provider such as Microsoft Azure that can be displayed in an easy-to-read, data-visualized dashboard for college policy makers to identify problems in energy consumption.
For instance, visualising the main errant users of energy consumption and informing them of their excessive heater use even if they are not in the room.
How we built it
We breadboarded the solution using the Feather M0 microcontroller, a BME280 Pressure/Temp sensor and a PIR sensor from temperature monitoring and human presence monitoring respectively. The unit is powered by a lithium polymer battery. The unit reads ambient temperature and detects the presence of people in a room and uploads it to Microsoft Azure for data visualisation.
Challenges we ran into
Microsoft Azure does not seem to be able to recognise the Feather M0. Reads it as offline despite the terminal accepting the data.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Successfully prototyping the sensor system and successfully getting it to upload informaiton using Wi-Fi. Market research and actual business planning seems to make it a very feasible and marketable product with a place in intelligent home monitoring.
What we learned
Non-technical members learned the concepts of IoT and had the opportunity to develop a rudimentary marketing plan for the system. Technical members learned Arduino and the use of the Feather M0 MCU.
What's next for Seenergy IoT Heating Monitoring Solution
If carried out to commercialisation, within a year to complete a practical, demonstable product. In 2 years, to test-bed in 5 and subsequently roll-out implementation to all 31 colleges. If successful, the next 3 years should be spent rolling out to all Cambridge Schools, faculties/departments (>100, 12,000 staff). Possibly and inter-college followed by an inter-varsity Cambridge-Oxford competition on amount of energy saved from heating.