Tag Archives: home energy

CSIRO Energise app to map Australian energy usage

Users of the CSIRO Energise app (available on Google Play and on the Apple App Store) share their energy costs and usage patterns through a range of ‘micro-surveys’, which will be used by the CSIRO to understand changing energy demands. The data will be shared with consumers, government and industry and could lead to improvements in the Australian energy network.

The app is a key component of CSIRO’s Energy Use Data Model project, which is collating and centralising various streams of energy data. “It’s designed to help us understand the changing world of energy”, explains Project Leader Dr Adam Berry. “Over the past years, we’ve seen huge changes in the energy sector, such as an increased uptake of renewables. This app aims to find out what this means for the average consumer.”

The micro-surveys cover topics such as household characteristics, power costs, energy-usage patterns, appliances and uptake of renewables, such as solar PV. CSIRO Energise has been designed as a two-way communication channel, so users will receive insights including tips for improving household energy efficiency and cutting-edge research updates as the energy data is analysed.

Dr Berry says that there is a current lack of data on how Australian households interact with energy. “We need to get better at forecasting energy demand if we want to create a more reliable and cheaper energy system. The app will help answer the big energy questions, such as who is paying the most for electricity and what’s driving peak demand.”

CSIRO Energise is the first of its kind. Unlike paper surveys, the app is able to follow users’ responses over time. It can ask questions in response to specific events, such as how heating is used on cold days, improving our understanding and management of peak energy consumption. “It’s the first time we’ve had the opportunity for longitudinal, long-term data collection”, says Dr Berry.

Dr Berry believes that this data collection platform will benefit researchers, government, industry and consumers.  “The results of the data analysis will be shared publicly and the plan is to work with industry and other bodies. This will be really valuable for the residential sector and will go a long way to lowering energy bills. It could also help certain sectors, such as city councils, find out how effective their energy policies are.”

Dr Berry is working hard to spread the word about CSIRO Energise to maximise the number of engaged users. “I genuinely believe that this will help us build an understanding of what modern energy use looks like across Australia.”

“That understanding is critical for developing the right research to deliver the most value possible to real Australian households.”

CSIRO Energise is available for download for free on Google Play and on the Apple App Store.

Source: CSIRO

Smart home design gets AccuRate

There is a growing demand for energy efficient houses. Featured image © CSIRO, CT Image Technology. 

Smart home design gets AccuRate

Today, more than ever before, home owners are demanding cost-effective, sustainable comfort – and that means finding smarter ways to make home heating and cooling affordable.

Despite the rising cost of housing, Australians have remained undeterred from their dream of home ownership. But if committing to a mortgage and a home build isn’t scary enough these days, the costs of heating and cooling it certainly might be!

Yes, we are creatures of comfort, and although we love our sunburnt country – droughts and flooding rains and all – the many climate variables in this beautiful land can pose a challenge when it comes to maximising energy efficiency in the design of our homes.

So our clever energy scientists asked: What if we could find a way of to model how particular house designs respond to certain climates, and then, at minimum cost, tweak their energy efficiencies to suite?

And they did it!

Drawing on the decades of experience and research in house energy modelling upon which the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is based, the team came up with AccuRate – a smart software tool that can calculate a home’s annual heating and cooling energy requirements down to an hourly rate.

The benchmark simulation software can assess a home’s energy requirements in up to 69 different climatic zones in Australia and rate its comfort level based on its annual energy requirements for heating and cooling. Homes are rated according to a ‘0–10 stars’ system – the higher the stars the more comfortable and energy efficient the homes are.

AccuRate can model up to 50 living spaces and 99 zones within a home, and takes into consideration the impact of variables such as insulation, natural ventilation, air leakage, thermal mass, roof spaces, sub-floor spaces, skylights, horizontal reflective air gaps, windows and external shading structures like trees, fences and the neighbour’s house.

AccuRate compares well to similar programs in Europe and the US and is available commercially from Energy Inspection. It is the benchmark software set by the Australian Government DCCEE for compliance to the building code. By flipping or rotating buildings and apartments, the software allows a designer to explore how different orientations might maximise energy and comfort. Additional AccuRate modules test sustainability parameters outside of energy efficiency ratings like lighting and water usage.

AccuRate is just one of the way we are supporting Australia’s transition to a prosperous, secure and lower emissions energy future.

Want to learn more?

During November, thousands of Australians will experience the power of renewable energy when they they hop on our Infinity Swing – a giant eight-person swing that generates real renewable energy to power a stunning light and sound show. Find out about the Infinity Swing and our other top energy innovations here.

– Ali Green

This story was first published by CSIRO on 6 November 2015 as part of their energy focused Infinity Campaign. Read the original story here.