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The Challenge

13% of households in England were fuel poor in 2019 (3.18 million)

According to the government’s latest fuel poverty report, there are over 3 million households in the UK living in fuel poverty. People struggle to afford continuous heating and living in cold conditions can cause a multitude of health problems.

Ventilation is poor, and so unhealthy levels of humidity can build. This is exacerbated in cases where several people live or sleep in the same room to keep rental and energy costs to a minimum.

Mould forms in the home, often going unremedied for months or even years. The combination of low temperature, high humidity and an atmosphere of mould spores can negatively impact health, especially in children or those that are immunocompromised.

Why is Humidity a Problem?

Humidity can be created by many routes in the home: Bathing, cooking, drying clothes – and even just breathing. A good home will manage such humidity through good ventilation, but this is not always the case. Frequent exposure can exacerbate existing health conditions such as asthma, allergies, breathing difficulties while humidity causes damp deposits on furniture, building walls and the wider building fabric.

An unaddressed mould problem can also result in huge remediation costs.

To address the humidity challenge in rented homes, ‘The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act’, requires that all new tenancies must begin, and remain, fit for human habitation. The act provides significant criteria to dictate what is required and, if not met, residents are able to claim disrepair. Persistent mould and damp driven by building fabric issues fall into this category.

The Solution

√ HealthyHomes Certificate
√ CAS Patented Nano-Shield
√ Patented Sensors
√ Improving Lives
√ Reducing Costs
√ Minimising Carbon Impact

ZapCarbon provides leading-edge Carbon-reduction programmes and Fuel Poverty programmes to social housing organisations in the UK. The company recognised an opportunity to solve the humidity challenge in social housing through IoT-powered monitoring. A solution designed to help both the resident’s well-being and offer a preventative maintenance solution to the housing association.

Together with TT Electronics, a leading IoT enabler and provider of electronic manufacturing solutions, an innovative system was developed – the Healthy Homes Sensor.

The Healthy Homes Sensor provides real-time feedback on conditions within the home. The sensor alerts residents (and social housing associations or landlords) to unhealthy conditions - temperature and humidity - and the data is analysed for any unusual patterns within the home.

Over 10,000 Healthy Home Sensors are currently deployed in social housing residences in London, UK.

“Thanks to this innovative service we are able to help some of our most vulnerable residents” Energy Efficiency Manager, UK Housing Association.

What Makes the Healthy Homes Sensor Unique?

  • Battery operated – no need for connection to the mains.
  • Cellular connectivity - no need for WiFi.
  • Compact unit for discreet installation in residents’ homes.
  • “Fit and forget” – once the sensor is installed, the technology gets to work and nothing further is required from the resident (or housing association).
  • The devices work remotely, and data is compiled in real-time, so tenants are not bothered by manual inspections or repeated visits.
  • Affordable.
  • Quick to install.
  • Patent Pending.

Aside from the Sensor technology, ZapCarbon supports customers and end users with the insight and expertise needed to lead behaviour-change in reducing fuel poverty, managing home humidity for health, and reducing carbon impact. The IoT technology provides the data and coupled with the knowledge and service provided by the company, real change and positive social impact is delivered with this solution.

How the Solution is Delivering Positive Social Impact

Benefits to End Users - Residents, Families, Children

  • The real-time data provided by the IoT technology identifies potential problems instantly, enabling a fast resolution.
  • People are reassured that they can live safe in their homes by eradicating exposure to unsafe levels of humidity that can cause serious health problems including respiratory allergies and asthma.
  • Improved health.
  • Better quality of life.
  • Tackles fuel poverty.

Benefits to the Organisation i.e., social housing company or landlord

  • Potentially unsafe humidity levels are detected long before mould occurs – preventing costly maintenance remediations and keeping residents safe and healthy.
  • Saves money – reduced or eradicated maintenance on mould issues.
  • Fewer mould related claims.
  • Improved service to the end users.

‘Big Picture’ Benefits

  • Carbon footprint reduction.
  • Corporate and Government Social Responsibility in their duty of care for communities.
  • Digitalisation of environmental priorities – obtaining and analysing data that will lead and shape a sustainable future.
  • Energy efficient homes.
  • Healthier communities.

The TT Electronics and ZapCarbon Partnership

The Healthy Homes Sensor, developed in partnership between TT Electronics and ZapCarbon, brings to the mass market a simple yet highly effective solution to a widespread problem in social housing communities across the world. The combination of environmental innovation from ZapCarbon coupled with the electronics technology and IoT expertise from TT Electronics is delivering real social impact and change where it is needed most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

UK GOV Fuel Poverty Strategy - https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960083/fuel-poverty-strategy-for-england-government-response.pdf

UK GOV Clean Air Strategy - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/clean-air-strategy-2019

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