Sundsvall’s example: fighting climate change with technology
Digital climate metres help to lower buildings’ energy usage and associated costs
Sundsvall’s municipal housing agency Mitthem reported last week on its findings from a pilot project, which it had initiated more than a year ago with the placement of climate metres on some of its residential buildings. The devices have helped to reduce energy costs and make the control of indoor climate more efficient thanks to on-time weather forecast readings.
Mitthem installed digital climate metres to be able to predict weather and automatically adapt the property’s energy use accordingly. The metre collects information from the Swedish Meteorological Institute (SMHI) and learns how the property is affected by different weather conditions. The measurements then help to improve energy use by raising or lowering the indoor temperature in step with the weather changes.
Removing the human factor in climate control
Mitthem’s experiment basically aims to answer the question of whether technology can help people in mitigating the effects of climate change. It turns out that it can be a much-needed partner in those efforts.
The properties that have been test objects are multi-family houses from the 1940s that are more demanding from an energy point of view than newer properties. Here, temperature metres were installed in all apartments to get a reliable average value. The control system responds to the metre and adjusts the heat indoors according to the weather forecast.
“We can already see that our energy costs have decreased and that we have improved energy use by between 5-10% during the test period. But the technology itself does not solve anything in itself, it is in the analysis and the measures we can do afterwards that make the difference. There we do the real work. Problem apartments still get cold if we do not change windows or look over other shortcomings in the property,” explained Stefan Wassbrink, project manager at Mitthem.
The World Economic Forum points out that technology in particular can contribute to meeting 70% of the goals of the 2030 Agenda. This does not mean that technology solves everything, but it can be used as part of meeting the goals.