OpenTRV

Did you know that at least £5bn per year of the UK's domestic energy bills is wasted? 

If someone told you that a user-fittable product costing typical £150 per household could help save much of that, so the typical householder gets their money back within one winter, would you be interested?

OpenTRV is on course to deliver that product.

Founded by two experienced hardware-to-Web techies with decades of experience delivering mission critical systems, and of startups, trial systems have been in place for two winters in multiple homes and delivering up to 50% savings in space heating. 

In preparing to give the lead presentation at a Department of Energy and Climate Change "smart heating" workshop in October 2012 it became evident to Damon Hart-Davis that there were some very low-hanging fruit in bill and carbon reductions to be had in home heating, technologies that are commonplace in commercial settings. 

The most obvious savings come from only heating rooms that actually need heating through 'zoning' and occupancy sensing. The commercial offering then and now are proprietary so you can't mix and match so prices are too high.

While everyone agreed with those points, it became evident that no one in that room, even the well-known manufacturers present, had a solution or was going to deliver one soon, so the OpenTRV project was born.

Our view is that unless the average home owner can get their money back in a single winter, and preferably (for the UK market in particular) fit the device themselves, most simply will not bother; most homes run with inadequate controls or insulation or both. Also, not everyone wants to use a smartphone to control their heating, or an Internet connection, or wants to fumble down the side of a radiator with a complex instruction manual, so cost and simplicity are key. 

Indeed, by eliminating the need for a central hub (though extra savings are available with one) a cautious user will be able to hazard as little as £10 to upgrade one radiator valve and make sure they are happy with the product, and start saving immediately. Other units can be bought incrementally as needed. 

In fact, there's more to our smart cheap open-source wireless radio valves than meets the eye. Inside every OpenTRV valve is an Internet of Things (IoT) node wanting to be heard. This is exactly what IoT should be about; simple smart invisible help with everyday life, not toasters ordering toothpaste on your credit card.

Our smart technology inside the valves helps keep track of frail people, to ensure that they are warm enough and moving around, maybe relaying the data to a social landlord.

Hoteliers and universities can use it to know when rooms are empty for cleaning, or something has gone wrong with lighting or heating or even adjust some things remotely.

OpenTRV has extracted an IoT platform from the valve technology and is being funded by Innovate UK

this year to develop other vertical markets alongside smart heating, in particular transport (footfall around bus shelters for journey and vehicle and advertisement scheduling) and building health.

Talking numbers, there are 100 million radiator valve sites in the UK with a 20-year replacement cycle,and for the whole EU 500 million. There are 20,000 bus stops in London and 400,000 just in the UK; suddenly all those transport operators can know where there putative passengers are!

This IoT world is huge, and on stand E54 and Friday afternoon at 15:45 in Seminar area 3, come and meet OpenTRV and encounter the Internet of Things in the real world.

Damon Hart-Davis, CEO, OpenTRV

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