Leaders in smart energy

France-based Schneider Electric is one of the largest players in the home-energy management systems market, with 11,000 engineers and plans to invest €10 billion in R&D over the next 10 years. The company has shown it can deliver innovative technology, providing building management systems even for the most sustainable office building in the world, The Edge in Amsterdam, which uses 70% less electricity than comparable office buildings and produces 102% of its own energy.

Another British player is Green Running. Their eGenius product is due for release this year, with technology similar to Ecoisme’s, recognising the “energy signature” of electrical appliances through self-learning algorithms. Belgian start-up Smappee works on the same principle and also requires only one sensor clipped to your fuse box. Although less accurate than Ecoisme – taking a month to identify around 60% of a household’s appliances – Smappee provides plugs with which devices can be turned on or off at the touch of a smartphone button. Spain’s Wattio also allows users to monitor their energy consumption habits and switch their home appliances on or off remotely, offering several wireless devices that not only monitor and improve home energy consumption but can also automate it.

Incorporating smart energy monitoring into the wider goal of holistic sustainable living is the ambitious Triangulum project, funded by Horizon 2020, the European Union’s framework programme for research and innovation. The project aims to develop solutions in three European cities: Manchester, UK; Stavanger, Norway; and Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

As one of five partners in the Dutch branch of the project, the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) will play a major role in delivering sustainable living environments to two neglected neighbourhoods, reducing energy bills and limiting CO2 emissions by 67%. “The solution will include smart lighting, smart sound sensor systems, smart parking, smart charging and bike sharing,” says TU/e’s Dujaun Yang. A smart officemanagement system, controlling energy use and enabling better transport choices, will be installed in the new creative smart district of a former Philips industrial complex. Meanwhile, the TU/e team is monitoring household energy consumption by collecting smart-meter data from the social housing stock of another area in preparation for energy-efficiency renovations.