Year 2018 Apply

Smarter on the grid

The challenge: Develop a smart system that monitors and manages heat pump installations.

Description of the problem

The Hague has the ambition to become a zero carbon-city without natural gas by 2040. To achieve this, the city of The Hague has developed a strategy that describes numerous measures. To reduce the dependency on natural gas means that half of the existing houses need to be heated with electric systems.

One of the most important ways to heat buildings is by using a heat pump. A heat pump collects heat from its surrounding environment (e.g. sewage, surface water, earth, air). Such heat pumps can raise the temperature to about 30 or 40 degrees Celsius, but they can only deliver enough heat when buildings are sufficiently isolated and if there is a low temperature radiator, or floor or wall heating system in place.

Optimizing the operation of  heat pumps is necessary to prevent unnecessary energy loss and to improve attractiveness of the system. The following features s can be an addition to systems currently on the market.

  • (digital) monitoring of the system (in kWh and in costs, maintenance alerts, malfunctions)
  • remote control options
  • smart control of distributing heat in the building; Separate smart controls for different rooms.
  • optimize the energy consumption of a heat pump, adapted to the living situation
  • anticipate the outside temperature
  • smart consumption of energy (at the most suitable times like when there is green energy available)

We are looking for a kind of ‘smart meter’ that can monitor and manage heat pumps. Note that it would be an advantage if this solution can connect to other electronic devices within a household as well.

What are we looking for?

We challenge you to develop a monitoring and operating system for heat pumps that is:

  • new for the Dutch market
  • an add-on for existing smart meters
  • user-friendly
  • able to connect to different types of thermostats and heat pumps
  • developed for heat pumps, but can also be used for other devices

What are we not looking for?

  • a toolbox that shows the investments that can make buildings more sustainable
  • a theoretical model about energy flows in buildings
  • a selection tool that helps select promising buildings

Background information