The socially effective smart building
Developing simple, easy-to-use connected solutions to alleviate energy bills for the most needy is the OGGA’s vocation. Heavily involved with affordable housing providers, this rapidly growing, single-minded company is aiming for 5,000 connected homes, buildings, and communal heating systems in 2020.
We talk to sales manager Ghislain Descamps.
OGGA’s business is currently focused on the affordable housing market. Why is this so and what are the specific needs of such a market?
OGGA was founded five years ago by three associates, Laurent Oger, Stephane Gagnat, and Patrice Bouchand. What brought them together was a sincere desire to find concrete ways of showing concern for their fellow men, notably by developing technologies that help reduce energy bills, especially for those with modest means. We quite naturally turned toward affordable housing schemes, to listen to their requirements and devise and build solutions with them. They had three priorities: to help tenants better manage their energy bills, to measure the impact of renovation, and to simplify the operation of their property portfolio. We therefore designed AI building blocks that make the various parts of a building intercommunicating and manageable. These solutions can be deployed in bloc or separately and are upgradable. They also take care to make the technology transparent to the user, whether that be the tenant or the property asset manager. The most important issues are simplicity of use, ease of installation, and longevity of the solutions, which are fully interoperable.
So what solutions have you developed for affordable housing providers?
First of all, we have created a self-programming energy manager (Eco-Touch), which is accessible to all and works out of the box without relying on the Internet. It goes inside the home’s electrical consumer unit, much like a circuit breaker. With its on-board intelligence, it self-learns and adapts to the daily living habits of each occupant. It automatically implements systematic temperature reductions during sleeping times or absences, thus maintaining comfort while reducing the energy bill. It also systematizes the extinguishing of lights and standby circuits when nobody is at home. It is upgradable and provides native interconnectivity with other equipment (smoke/opening/water leak detectors, roller shutter actuators, etc.). Eco Touch is also a dynamic energy meter with which occupants can consult their consumptions in kWh or cost and preview their month-end figures.
On the property manager’s side, the Eco Collect platform can display data on the homes (GDPR-compliant consumption and temperature records) and monitor the operation of technical equipment in the common areas. The data can be directly interpreted and used. Alerts are raised in the event of anomalies, thereby anticipating potential breakdowns and tenant dissatisfaction.
Following many requests from owners and managers, Ogga has also incorporated data feedback into its Eco Collect solution in respect of communal heating installation operation and energy performance. Managers can thus check the operator’s satisfactory progress toward targeted objectives. The system, which features a lightweight architecture thus avoiding a big impact or heavy work in the common areas, is “agnostic”, meaning data continuity is ensured even if there is a change of operator.
Have you had any feedback from homes that have already been equipped?
In 2016, on a volunteer basis, we fitted out several homes for the Lyon area housing association Est Métropole Habitat, who wished to experiment with and measure the Eco-Touch solution in the scope of a major energy renovation project. Now, three years later, an engineering agency commissioned by Est Métropole Habitat has appraised the solution’s impact. The results are significant. Consumptions have gone down more than 20%, mainly achieved by lowering the temperature during moments when the occupants’ perceived comfort is not affected (night time, absence). Even though we don’t have this type of analysis for all the sites we have equipped, housing providers keep coming back with other projects, which is a sure sign the initial installations fulfilled their objective in terms of services provided, not to mention in terms of robustness!