Rid yourself of the notion that energy saving has to equate with suffering. As in turning the thermostat way down and bundling up in extra sweaters while your teeth chatter. Smart Cities Council Associate Partner ABB just let us in on an interesting project they've been involved in – a very smart apartment building in Espoo, Finland (near Helsinki). As you'll see below, saving energy and "going green" have never been so easy.
Kari Kukka says living in Adjutantti -- Finland's smart new showcase for future urban living -- makes a big difference in the quality of her life.
"When I get home," she says, "I wave the key card at the front door and it opens. I step into the lobby and the lights go on. By the time I reach the elevator, it is already there waiting for me, and it ‘knows’ which floor I want."
When she's inside her seventh floor apartment, a tablet-sized display from ABB is drawing a line of bars, which shows precisely the electricity consumption in the apartment for the last day, hour by hour. "This is really easy to understand,” says Kukka, indicating the display. “At that peak, we had the dishwasher on and at this one we went to the sauna."
Adjutantti is the first apartment building in Finland in which every apartment is equipped with a real-time electricity, water and heat-consumption monitoring and control system. The technology was installed in cooperation with ABB, the Finnish energy company Fortum and the Tampere University of Technology.
Two floors below Kukka's apartment, resident Mirva Forsström makes a point of checking her family’s power consumption on a daily basis. "The best of all smart features is the home/away switch because, when we go out, we know that nothing is left on,” she explains. “When we are away for longer, we can lower the temperature of the apartment with one touch of a button.”
At first glance, the Adjutantti may look like the exterior of any other stylish apartment building. Except there are solar panels on the roof that power electric car charging and the building's stairwell lighting. The building saves plenty of energy on heating by being extremely well insulated.
“Regulations regarding energy efficiency in buildings are becoming more stringent all the time,” says Harri Liukku of ABB. “At the same time, people's environmental awareness is increasing. Tools that enable concrete energy savings will increase in popularity in the future.”
Forsström says that being more aware of how much power she uses has made her change her own behavior. “When I saw how much water I used in the shower, I started taking shorter ones. Now we also choose the most energy efficient appliances for our home and we make sure we turn off the lights when we leave a room.”
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