After two and a half intense days at Future Hack #2, Mavericats are the winners of £20,000 with their idea for an energy reporter system for use in council buildings in Glasgow. Nine teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges at The Whisky Bond on the evening of Sunday 23rd March 2014. Below is a list of each team and a brief synopsis of their pitch.
Members: Victor Ajayi, Arthur Lynch, Gino Ahmed, Paulo Cruz, Zsolt Kalmar
‘Energy Reporter’ is a system that monitors energy usage in council buildings. Arguably the strongest pitch of the night, the idea of the Energy Reporter is to keep tabs on the energy usage of council buildings in real-time, primarily using the open dataset of Glasgow City Council’s half hourly energy reports. The system would be able to spot deviations from average usages and contact relevant people who could carry out actions to lower consumption. This may be as simple as an SMS text message to people in a certain department which informs them that their energy consumption has risen too high. They would then be encouraged to check whether they are only using essential appliances.
Team member Zsolt Kalmar was a one man band at the first Future Hack on Public Safety, this time he is in the winning group. Judge Harjinder Gharyal from Glasgow City Council was curious how the system would work during adverse weather conditions – would deviation reports get out of hand during these times? The response was that the aim was to report on deviations from the locations daily average, and this would account for changes in seasons and therefore general weather changes.
Members: Stuart Swindells, Aidan Smeaton, Kenny Coyle, Greig Hamilton, Mathew Watson
Happy Homes aims to give energy consumption a face. A map of all public buildings in Glasgow and checks their current use against the average use and gives a smiley face or sad face accordingly. The team created meaningful statistics from the datasets on the open data portal. The aim is also to be able to check a user’s “face” against rivals in the area. The example they used is a school principal, checking his use against other schools then making adjustments for better energy efficiency ratings, and therefore lower bills.
Judge Simon Smith quizzed the team on what a user of the service would do if they knew they had a sad face. The response was that the service would aim to create awareness and the ball is very much in the users court once they know the data. Another question that was raised was the difficulty for people to act if they live in estates, shared accommodation or suchlike.
Power 2 The People
Members: Romain Ricchi, Dragos Iluita, Duncan Bain, Duane Harrison
This team created ‘Habits’, an app that suggests habitual changes to the user in order to lower their personal carbon emissions on services that are not automated. For example: taking the stairs instead of a lift. The app learns and tries to reward good habits, highlight bad habits and suggest changes. The team were pressed by judge Harjinder Gharyal on the longevity of the app, suggesting that users would tire of the constant input of information. The response was that there would be fresh questions added periodically, and also that local authorities/interested ‘sponsor’ agencies could tailor questions to specific problems that needed addressing. One criticism of the idea was that it made limited use of data already available on the portal.
Members: George Popa, Vlad I Schriakovszki, Razvan Morariu, Martynas Buivys, Mirca Iordache
A system that allows the user to remotely control each appliance in the user’s household, it would be connected to an app that would be used on the residents smart phone or tablet. House installation would cost £800. The app then shows costs per appliance, suggests savings that could be made and how to attain them. One criticism from judge Dele Adeyemo was that there is already an appliance known as the energyEGG that performs much the same function. The team re-emphasised the low cost of inputting their system and the potential savings to the consumer.
Members: Adam Kurkiewicz, Casper Wilson, David Jonas, Eric Baster, Bruce Doney
A service that lets people see which buildings produce excess heat, and which buildings are in heat poverty. The team created a heat demand map from several different datasets from the portal. They were keen to explain the fact that the technology for district heating already exists, and this service would simply connect people for their mutual benefit. Judge Dele Adeyemo asked the team about the benefits for the consumer. Where it is the company who would be paid for their excess heat, there was little apparent benefit to the consumer who would pay for the excess heat.
Members: Alistair Collins, Robert Wilson, Peter Kinnaird, William Nelson, Yannick Kremer
The Digital Dowsing Rod. GeekSoc put together an idea that would allow the user to find out if they could benefit from having some sort of renewable energy source installed in their location, for example, solar panelling on the roof of your property. The group utilised geographical and DECC data from the open data portal, as well as solar and wind data from other sources. The team see it as a first step towards renewable energy for a lot of people, and it’s potential as an awareness-raising tool was also mentioned. Judge Graeme Arnott was curious as to the way this system would work in residencies in multiple occupancy. The team were keen that in those situations, the emphasis would be on community engagement and the onus would be on all of the residents to reach a consensus.
Members: Marin Georgiev, Anton Belev, Pavel Kaloferov, Dimitar Iranov, Radko Kotev, Toni Andreev, Konstantin Ivanov
MLGL’s idea is a user interface that tracks a household’s energy use, compared to other households in the city. The system then suggests possible ways to reduce the user’s energy bill in three different categories: no cost, low cost and high cost. The user would then choose the best way to reduce their energy consumption. The team were keen to promote the fact that the suggestions would come from other users of the system on social media, and the system would be very much a community engagement tool. Judge Dele Adeyemo was unsure of the real benefit of this information. The team reiterated that it would not only serve to reduce energy bills, but also promote social integration and social awareness of the cost of energy.
Members: Aleksandrs Sidlovskis, Irina Preda, Maksim Solovjov, Vladislavs Zaharvous, Reinis Elksnis
GreenUp is a social enterprise that makes use of the energy consumption data from the open data portal. The app would set its users weekly challenges in an attempt to change they way they use energy. For example, one week you could be set the challenge to cook in groups in an attempt to conserve energy. Another challenge would be to travel without the use of fuel for one week. The team plans to connect this app with businesses in the city who could offer discounts as rewards for completing challenges. The aim would be to raise energy awareness in society while changing behaviour and bringing communities together. The judges pushed the team for the reasons why people would initially use this tool. The team had a very commendable goal of making it go viral through the use of social media.
Members: Yasher Moshfeghi, Andrew McMinn, Josh McGhee, Stewart Whiting, Jesus R Perez
Heat View were excited to show the panel of judges their technological prowess. Retro-fitting their car with an elaborate thermal imaging system, they actually went as far as driving around Glasgow for about 4 hours on Friday night. The goal was to show the audience how much heat was being lost from buildings, which would allow residents, businesses and Glasgow City Council to make changes to their property in order to conserve heat. The pictures they provided show in stark detail just how much heat is lost through windows, uninsulated stairwells and through roofs. Judge Dele Adeyemo was curious as to the real benefits to society for this data. The group were excited to say that the idea of a thermally imaged city would be a global first, and reiterated the advantages and potential business opportunities of having this information