Clever tech for a greener future

clock • 4 min read
Jessica Tan is a managing director of smart home at OVO Energy | Credit: OVO
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Jessica Tan is a managing director of smart home at OVO Energy | Credit: OVO

OVO’s Jessica Tan discusses what it means to have a smart home and how our homes play a part in the fight against climate change

Although smart home technology has been with us since the early 2000s, in the UK, only 23 per cent of people have a smart device in their home. Yet creating carbon-cutting technology for our homes is crucial in the fight against climate change, which is why we're on a mission here at OVO to engage our members on how this technology can add value to their homes whilst reducing their carbon emissions and their bills too.

Members and their EVs supporting the electricity grid

As the coronavirus pandemic has put pressure on our energy system, we've been able to show how the technology in our members' homes can support a more balanced and flexible electricity grid.

Late last year, National Grid issued an alert warning of a supply crunch on the electricity grid due to low renewable output and lack of available generation to meet high demand. Our OVO Energy members and their Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) chargers came to the rescue, providing the extra capacity needed by exporting energy from their electric vehicles back onto the grid. V2G has the additional benefit for our members by earning them revenue; charging their vehicle on cheap, clean energy when demand is low and feeding it back to support the grid at peak times when energy is more expensive. In fact, some of our V2G members have been able to save up to £800 a year on their bills, allowing them to effectively drive for free.

This mobilisation of members shows that with the right technology, the electrification of transport can support the energy system of the future; preventing blackouts and saving members money.

Handing members control over their home heating

With boiler usage likely to rise 56 per cent this winter, as a result of people working from home, the ability to better manage home energy use has never been more vital for households. I believe that for too long, members have been in the dark about how much they spend on heating their homes. By making really simple changes like installing a smart thermostat in their homes, they can not only have more comfort and control but also go on to save money, energy and carbon in the long-term.

We've recently teamed up with tado° and in an industry first, linked a member's smart meter to a tado° Smart Thermostat to give them ultimate control over their energy. Through the My OVO app, members will receive bespoke advice on how to lower the cost of their energy use and how to reduce their overall carbon footprint too. By giving members full information and control over their home heating, they're in the driving seat when it comes to saving money and carbon.

Our Zero Carbon Heating Trial

Plan Zero is one of the reasons I joined OVO. I admire the ambition, and that every aspect of the business is now working towards removing carbon. Through our Zero Carbon Heating Trial, we've been able to make a real difference for our members. As part of this trial, we're installing new tech into households, replacing fossil fuel heating systems with brand new heat pumps. Air heat pumps use air as their main source of energy to convert into heat for households. What's great is that they're backed by the government for being semi-renewable, they're low maintenance and they enable members to cut home heating costs. This trial not only cuts the cost of home heating, but is a groundbreaking step in decarbonising heat across the country, whilst giving members an education into how these technologies work together as part of a smarter and flexible energy system. We'll be looking to share data from this trial later this year.

What to expect in 2021

What the OVO Smart Home team has learnt so far is that - although tackling climate change is a huge challenge - every individual can make a difference and it can all start from the comfort of your own home.

Our ambition is to deliver clever tech for a greener future, through the launch of revolutionary products and trials that cut household carbon emissions. We believe we have a crucial role to play in upgrading and greening members' homes so that everyone is ready for a net zero future.

Over the coming months, we'll be rolling out the next phase of our tado° partnership, which will give more members' freedom to control their energy usage. We will also build these heat insights into our Carbon and Energy Insights experience, allowing us to further improve our advice to members on actions they can take to make a difference to their bills and carbon footprint.

As well as this, we will also have the chance to crunch and share data from OVO's Zero Carbon Heating to see how this innovative heating solution has helped households cut emissions. Finally, we're launching an exciting new tariff for EV drivers, giving them more opportunity to save money from smart charging their electric vehicle. These are just a few of the exciting opportunities OVO Smart Home has to help our members today whilst preserving the environment's future.

 

Jessica Tan is a managing director of smart home at OVO Energy.

This article was sponsored by OVO Energy.

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