Learning by collaborating – energy savings study offered new insights for the future
Fortum and Fluxio began their collaboration on an energy savings research project after Fluxio won a start up competition held by Fortum that was searching for the next best innovations in the field of energy savings and consumption optimization. The winning proposal had the idea of choosing ten housing associations for a pilot project that would include an analysis of their current situation, consumption measurement through out the duration of the project as well as the conducting of various energy saving experiments in the buildings chosen.
Both Fortum and Fluxio have gathered valuable information during the collaboration. “The initial situation analysis of the buildings was interesting and while conducting this it was clear that it is not always easy to pinpoint why one housing association has a higher consumption level than another”, Fluxio‘s CEO Kalle Grönqvist tells us. “Technologies and devices used can be identical but for example one family with children moving away from a medium-sized housing association can result in significant differences in water consumption.” There were also notable differences in the average indoor temperature of apartments, which could be due to habits – some housing associations are used to higher temperatures than others.
Each apartment in the chosen housing associations were equipped with indoor temperature measuring sensors. The graph below demonstrated how vast temperature differences per apartment can be; during the first months of 2019 one housing association had apartments with temperatures as warm as 24 degrees and as cold as 19 degrees. “This is one of the key findings from the project. Controlling and steering the heating of a residential building can be very difficult if there is a 5 degree difference in temperatures per apartment and no one knows whether or not residents are satisfied with their home temperatures”, Kalle Grönqvist summarizes.
During the study the most noteworthy decrease in heating costs was achieved in a housing association whose temperatures in common spaces, such as garages and stairwells, were significantly lowered. Temperatures were reduced from apartment level to approximately 15 to 17 degrees. This resulted in a 2,5 percent decrease in total heating costs.
In addition to temperatures, the project also focused on water consumption monitoring. Water and its heating make up a considerable amount of a housing association’s annual costs which means that the amount consumed and the optimization of it can make a major difference. Several experiments were conducted with the goal of recuding water consumption in mind. These included for example lowering water pressure and raising resident’s awareness of their consumption via extra communication. “With lowering water pressure we were able to create actual savings of 5 to 10 percent where as changes in consumption behavior did not seem to make a noticeable difference. Affecting people’s behavior proved to be more difficult through the chosen experimentation methods”, Kalle Grönqvist explains. “Over all this project can be considered a very successful learning experience for both Fluxio and Fortum”.