With the afternoon hours still in darkness, and a snow storm passing down my street, it seems fitting to be writing about how much energy we spend on heating and cooling our homes.
According to Mr Toon Bouten, CEO of tado°, 79% of all energy consumption in the home is spent on doing just this. (source)
NOAH Conference, 2021
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tado° focuses on helping households understand, manage and reduce their energy consumption through smart heating controls.
In 2019, households represented 26% of final energy consumption, or 17% of gross inland energy consumption, in the EU. The main use of energy by households in the EU in 2019 was for heating their homes.
"We use an enormous amount of energy to heat our homes," said Bouten, "but no one talks about it. That why we developed our platform. Our vision is to create a platform for connected homes to digitalise energy use, become more decentralised and enable decarbonisation across the sector."
The tado° platform today operates across 20 countries, and boasts 2 million active connections - last year growing by 50%.
Bouten shared that on average, tado° is helping households reduce their heating energy consumption by 22%. Together, this has already lead to a residential energy saving of 2 billion KWh.
Putting that in perspective, 2 billion KWh is equivalent of the energy production of more than 900 average wind turbines over the course of a year! (source)
The phenomenal thing about this, is that you don't need to spend a huge amount of cash to retrofit a house. As long as you have an existing thermostat, you're good to go with tado°, as they’re compatible with 95% of home heating systems.
Bouten mentioned that their smart thermostats often generate a return on investment, in terms of energy saved, within a year - there's not many green technologies that boast that!
Move To Electrification
Achieving their success to date has taken quite a feat of engineering. Bouten explained that in order to reach as many households as possible, they needed to create something that was agnostic to the specific heating or cooling installation. But having created and patented a "multibus" technology in their devices, they are now able to work with more than 17,000 solutions from over 900 manufacturers.
Bouten continued, explaining that reducing consumption of energy for traditional heating/cooling appliances was a necessary step, however their future plans revolve around help further decarbonise homes through electrification of heating systems and load-shifting.
Households are already on a journey toward full electrification, and this can be evidenced in the numerous government policies to ban gas boilers, replacing them with heat-pumps, or such like.
One of the challenges of renewable energy, is the consistency of generation is often rather difficult to control - solar is on when the sun is out, wind power when its blowing etc - this means the flow of energy into the grids is highly variable and difficult to predict or control.
The resulting effect of this is that if there is a spike in demand for energy at a time when renewable sources are on a lull, then the energy demand is delivered from less-green sources.
Now, while it is quite obvious that renewable output will vary by season, month or even day, what's less obvious is that these sources can vary considerably from hour to hour, if not, minute to minute.
So what if your household could become more green simply by starting your heating 30 minutes earlier, or by shortening the heat cycle by 15 minutes? Or by moving the majority of its heating into those times where energy is priced cheaper?
This is another aspect tado° are setting out to address - "load shifting".
Bouten explains that every home or household has its own thermal fingerprint, and reacts differently to heating input and exterior conditions. Some houses might take several hours to feel warm, others could react faster. Bouten suggests that through the sensors deployed in the house, it is possible to understand how each individual building reacts, and adapt the energy demand to make the most of available renewable sources.
For example, let's imagine my heating is set to come on at 9am, and typically takes 60 minutes to warm up at this time of the year. Taking information from the dynamic energy markets, tado° notices that there's a preferable rate renewable now, at 8.30am, so it tells the controllers in my home to begin heating, thereby taking advantage of the transient availability of renewable energy - it shifted my energy demand to match the availability of renewable, cheaper energy, without having a significant impact on the occupant's comfort or experience.
There is often a mismatch between wind or solar generation and demand. Load shifting enables households to benefit from green energy sources when they are available, without noticeable difference in comfort of the home. Sometimes households can actually get paid to use renewable sources, so it makes sense to make the most of that.
What's going to change?
I asked Bouten about some of the changes he expect to see in the coming years.
"Consumer awareness about their impact on the environment." he said, "Consumers are going to realise very soon that they will need to reach their own household net zero in their own lifetimes, not some distant point in the future."
Bouten supported this thought by referencing the various government policies that will help shift consumer mindset, including that new regulations in The Netherlands mean a shift from gas heating to renewables such as heat pumps or district heating as soon as 2025.
He also shared that he believes that commercial property owners will be incentivised further (forced) to decarbonise and install smart controls across buildings, too.
tado° is already on quite an exciting growth journey, but there's more to come.
Bouten sees their future in helping to democratise energy for households and mobility, providing tailor made energy solutions and time-based tariffs that the end user has complete visibility of, and control over.
If you're interested in knowing more, head over to their site today.
Use up to 31% less energy and still optimally heat or cool your home. The smart functions tado° offers help you to save on energy and heating costs.