Following the successful launch and adoption of Cosy Smart thermostat into the UK market to First:Utility customers, we took on the challenge to make Nordic homes Cosy too with pilots in Finland and Norway.
The Scandinavian inspired design of Cosy was an instant hit as the concept of Cosy originated in this region with the Scandinavian ‘Hygge’ being a traditional way of life. The challenges of multiple zones, multiple heat sources, low winter temperatures, Nordpool spot pricing tariffs and a lack of existing home controls presented a few technical experiments. Out of these early challenges arose a golden opportunity, to design an easy in-home control that would deliver significant savings to the bill payer.
The Cosy system includes local in-home control and remote control via a smart phone app, it requires professional installation by a qualified electrician along with internet access. Perfect for regular homes and remote cabins across the Nordic region.
The goal to unearth the best predictive heating algorithms had already begun and our Cambridge Data Scientists did not let us down – We soon had the data to import into our engine and predict when to apply heating to Nordic homes using the most cost-effective method available, by linking Cosy to a variable tariff from the Utility and importing Nordpool spot pricing into the mix.
Working with local Utility and installation partners, the pilots came at a time when the Norwegian regulator was planning to introduce TOU tariffs and increases to distribution costs, so there was a welcome addition to Cosy of an in-home energy display to alert occupants of their usage and tariff period, whilst the app would alert those not at home if desired so they could take action should they want to. Calculations were carried out using average consumption per hour per degree temperature difference between set-point and external temperature. The consumption with Cosy and without Cosy was measured and significant savings were seen in all homes of c30-40% proving the business case to further develop the system for launch into the markets. By focusing on comfort and savings for the consumer in the changing world of energy prices, this project demonstrated a scalable way to deliver consumer savings.
Homes in the Nordics are predominantly heated by electricity and they typically use around 20,000 kWhrs/annum. Current control practice is to switch heating on at the start of the winter and leave it running 24 hours/day. Whilst there are usually thermostats installed, the adoption of time clocks is not widespread. Across the Nordic region there is a spot market for electricity which consumers can choose to be billed from – similar to the concept of a floating rate house mortgage. As with most electricity grids, the countries are experiencing more peaks and troughs in demand with variable and distributed renewable generation and there is an opportunity to alleviate heavy investment by introducing Demand Side Response (DSR) which reduces demand at peak times.
“What I liked most was the Cosy display is that it’s visible for all in the home and the ability to change the temperatures based on family occupancy and changes in our schedule is excellent. The remote monitoring and control functionality is very useful for heating and hot water”. – A pilot user