Shaping the future of intelligent buildings

Industry-changing Research & Development

Here at Zmart Hohm, you’re in safe hands. We’re all in on creating energy-efficient, intelligent buildings. It is what we’ve been doing since our very inception and we’ve been involved in countless projects over the years. We have seen first-hand how impactful an intelligent system operating in absolute harmony can be – both in terms of working in the most efficient way possible and ultimately reducing energy consumption. However, despite the climate emergency and the rising costs of energy, sadly very little research has been carried out on the effectiveness of choosing a truly intelligent home automation system. 

That’s why, we knew that we couldn’t say no when we were presented with the opportunity to work on the biggest research project of its kind in the world – “eHome2”. eHome2 is a ground-breaking project at the University of Salford with the goal of creating a new blueprint for building homes en-masse that can operate at a net zero carbon level.

What is Energy House 2.0 ?

At the University of Salford, you’ll find a world-leading facility called Energy House 2.0. This is essentially a massive chamber that can simulate a wide range of real-world weather conditions including wind, rain, snow and much more. The chamber can even replicate any temperature between -20°C & +40°C.

This laboratory is the largest test and research facility of its type in the world. It’s being partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which has helped the university offer best-in-class research and academic expertise in smart living.

What is eHome2?

eHome2 is a real three-bed detached house that has been built within the environmental chamber in Energy House 2.0. However, this house has been built from scratch with reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions in mind – from low-carbon heating systems to a smart water metering solution.

The goal is to understand how zero-carbon housing can be delivered at scale while also meeting the Future Homes Standard. As part of this project the effectiveness of smart home technologies, for both improving the efficiency of the building and the day-to-day experience for the occupants, will be measured. And that’s where we came in.

What have we implemented ?

Having all of this renewable technology in a home is great but if you’re working with multiple standalone systems, that’s not very smart. That’s where we got involved to integrate, optimise, monitor and automate all of this fantastic innovative technology. During this project, we worked very closely with the University of Salford, Saint-Gobain and Barratt to ensure that all of the different systems in the home have been brought into one intelligent ecosystem – thanks to Loxone technology.

Of course, we didn’t just stop there. We’re controlling everything from lighting and heating all the way through to electrical vehicle charging and internal blinds. This allowed us to implement many energy-saving features such as automatically turning lights off when someone leaves the room, turning off the heating if a window is opened and turning off standby devices when they’re not needed anymore.

As we’re controlling the heating and blinds, we can also intelligently optimise how the home attempts to regulate its temperature. In cooler weather, we can utilise solar gain by opening the blinds to passively heat rooms before activating the heat source. In hot weather, we can track the position of the sun and tactically lower the blinds to cool rooms automatically.

By implementing these features in eHome 2, we can effectively quantify the real-world impact of the smart features that we implement on a daily basis.

Tom Cox
Technical & Development Director, Saint-Gobain Off-Site Solutions

“The eHome2 project represents a leap forward in sustainable housing. It has provided a platform for smart technologies and enabled us to learn how to optimise and connect the utilities.

With Loxone’s smart control system, designed & installed by Zmart Hohm, we’re not just building homes, we’re designing future-ready living spaces that prioritise comfort, efficiency and environmental responsibility. Given the abundance of technology in the home, we needed a solution that seamlessly merged the various components of smart technology as well as the complicated heating, hot water and ventilation systems into a user-friendly and intuitive system.

Loxone’s system is making it easier for the occupant and connects the home functionality for future-proofing the home. The future of home automation is here, and it’s incredibly exciting.”

How can we help with your R&D project ?

Day to day we create intelligent home and building automation systems in family homes, offices, restaurants, etc. However, we’re also perfectly placed to design electrical controls and monitoring for research purposes. So if you’re looking to conduct a research project of your own that will be using multiple technologies, then get in touch with us. By bringing multiple systems under one room, we can ensure effective monitoring of the project as a whole. We can ensure that systems are working with each other, rather than on their own, to increase the effectiveness of whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve.

We can also set up maintenance reminders as well as instant notifications if any of the systems aren’t working correctly. Unexpected system failures could have adverse effects on your project and the conclusions you come to. We can help eliminate these by giving you one single point of truth for your project – giving you the peace of mind that everything is in hand.

Got an upcoming research and development project?

If you’d like to know more about what we can do to help your R&D project, get in contact with us now or fill in the form below and we’ll be in touch.

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