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FS20 - Application of a low cost wireless sensor network

Written by: CIC Start Online

"Application of a low cost wireless sensor network" by Glasgow Caledonian University and AppleGreen Homes


The project will involve the application a Scottish-designed low-cost, extensible and flexible Wireless Sensor Network smart-energy system within AppleGreen House at BRE Innovation Park Motherwell. BRE Innovation Park Scotland will provide a unique platform for housing designers and builders as well as the producers of household products to look towards the communities of tomorrow. It will make possible real time evaluation of new technologies in order to promote and accelerate industry uptake. Therefore this is an opportunity to showcase
innovation in design, construction, materials, heating, lighting, and landscaping in the creation of sustainable homes.

We will collect environmental data, measure energy inputs and outputs and occupancy - and analyse in real-time the energy efficiency of the entire installation. This would then support the validation and refinement of the low-carbon methodology used in the building
design. The resulting energy efficiency of the house would create a cost-effective solution for reducing fuel poverty; with the ever-increasing costs of utilities, it is vital that new innovative ways to reduce these costs are explored. AppleGreen Homes will offer a mass-market affordable home for all but even more important we will be able to reduce ongoing utility costs. The smart-energy system will
allow us to prove this and help locate within the house or peoples lifestyles where energy levels are being used, in real time with both local and remote information being available. The system could therefore be used for

1. Monitoring and refining low-energy methodology for building design and ongoing refinement and

2. The system is suitable for building in to the property long-term to inform the occupants about their energy profile.
This would allow occupants to be able to understand in a meaningful way their ecosystem and what they could do to help create enhanced operational efficiency of their homes. The technology for the system to be used has been designed at Glasgow Caledonian University.It uses Zigbee technology with 802.15.4 networking. It has been designed to match the following key criteria: low-cost, extensibility of design, reliability using mesh networking and high-availability software layer, low-power, plug-and-play sensor interface to allow any sensor type to be designed into the system, local display of energy profile as well as communications with centralised energy profile monitoring and evaluation software. The system uses cellular network communications to send all sensor data back to central server(s) in real time for specialised analysis.

The project provides an ideal opportunity to bring together the low-carbon construction expertise of AppleGreen Homes together with the Knowledge Transfer capabilities of GCU Built and Natural Environment (BNE) and the School of Engineering and Computing. The system is ready to be trialled and the funding would provide an ideal opportunity to evaluate its efficacy in the real-world.

Key words: domestic buildings, smart-energy system,  energy efficiency


Peter Barrie, Glasgow Caledonian University

Chris Sanders, Glasgow Caledonian University

For AppleGreen Homes

The outputs of this study will be disseminated in due course.


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