Colin Calder, Founder & CEOThe concept of a low-carbon smart city, just a few years ago, seemed light years away from reality. “Not anymore,” states Colin Calder, Founder and CEO, PassivSystems. “The emergence of District Heating (DH) and the resultant decarbonization of thermal grids using Biowaste and CHP have moved us closer to the realization of smart homes within smart low-carbon cities.” Efficient energy distribution and consumption through DH is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce carbon emissions in densely populated urban areas. Calder’s PassivSystems develops software that monitors, predicts and controls equipment at home in order to cost-optimize performance of central generation plant and reduce domestic heating energy costs and consumption whilst maintaining comfort.
“Our strategic goal is to help consumers gain access to the lowest-cost energy through our home energy management platform,” states Calder. The PassivSystems platform employs learnt building thermal dynamics and heating system performance to attain an accurate estimate of the energy required to achieve the desired thermal comfort-level. By predicting the energy consumption patterns based-on weather forecasts, building’s infrastructure, and occupant behaviour, the data is aggregated from individual homes across the entire DH network. “The key to efficiency and decarbonization is to focus on reducing the consumption peaks,” says Calder. PassivSystems focuses its platform, featuring PassivLiving and PassivPro, on helping cities and residents attain comfort-levels with much lower carbon-footprints and capital.
PassivPro is an asset management platform for managing home infrastructure equipment (e.g. solar photovoltaic (PV) systems) and delivers proactive management of large equipment portfolios, maximizing performance and facilitating efficient maintenance. “Whether you are managing a portfolio of PV systems,DH homes, or heat pumps PassivePro enables the deployment of equipment at home, and monitors and manages it over its lifetime,” says Calder. PassivLiving HEAT enables customers to control heating remotely using a mobile device and works with the majority of oil, gas, and LPG boilers as well as heat pumps and district heating Heat Interface Units.
The emergence of District Heating (DH) and the resultant decarbonization of thermal grids have moved us closer to the realization of low carbon smart cities
Customers have access to a secure portal which allows online control of heating and consumer engagement. The Hub-based app connects to the cloud via a broadband router and communicates wirelessly with the PassivLiving Thermostat and hot water controllers. “The hub-based app processes local building, occupant and weather data to ensure cost-efficient control of local or central heating equipment,” asserts Calder.
PassivSystems’ R&D facilitates energy efficiency improvements for homeowners. Working with energy companies, academic research teams, and manufacturers, PassivSystems designs and develops solutions to tackle domestic energy over-consumption. In one case, a large utility in London, worked with PassivSystems on a 56 million pound project, ‘The Customer Led Network Revolution.’
The project required enlistment of over a 1,000 customers to have energy monitoring equipment installed in their homes to investigate energy usage. PassivSystems successfully measured a broad range of energy consumption metrics by deploying a turnkey solution that included the flagship monitoring and control system—PassivLiving. “We arranged the installation, captured, and analyzed the data, while ensuring the customer remained happy and achieved a successful outcome,” cites Calder.
PassivSystems’ turnkey solutions are able to harvest sophisticated domestic energy consumption data and measure usage patterns and the savings made through deploying different technologies such as heat pumps, district heating and Solar PV systems. “The data we collect across Britain provides vital insight into how energy is generated and used at home. Every research case we undertake is with an eye to imbibe new capabilities into the PassivSystems platform,” assures Calder. In order to tap the potential U.S. market and expand its reach, the company is currently seeking partnerships with businesses across the U.S.