NSTI Nanotech 2009

Wireless Sensor Networks to enable the Passive House

J. Brusey, T. Daniel, X. Fei, N. Poole, E.I. Gaura
Coventry University, UK

Keywords: WSN, passive house


The current period of climate change or “global warming” is possibly the most serious and pressing challenge faced by scientists and the wider community today. Although governments are beginning to act, a community wide approach is needed with a large proportion of individuals acting to reduce energy consumption that depends on fossil fuels. The Passive House (or Passivhaus) standard is an ultra-low energy standard for building construction and design that aims at dramatically reducing energy consumption in the home. Passive Houses avoid the use of a central heating system by being more airtight and using advanced insulation, triple glazed windows and a number of other low energy building approaches. The Passive House goal, while possible with new builds, may be difficult to achieve with existing buildings, however. In this work, Wireless Sensor Network technology is examined as an enabling tool to support rapid progression to improved energy efficiency for existing buildings. As with participatory urban sensing, the home occupant takes on the role of scientist; developing an awareness of trouble spots in the house (through poor design or a developing fault) allowing them to target these problems thus reducing the need for central heating and improving comfort. The paper reports on experiences and observations from several house monitoring WSN deployments. The sensors deployed measured temperature, relative humidity, CO2 concentration and light. Depending on the house size and layout, between 12 and 20 nodes were deployed. The monitoring period was 14 days per house. The paper demonstrates the value of using WSN technologies as enablers for the amateur eco-home scientist on the path towards reduced energy consumption and increased comfort.
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