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Your Homes Newcastle Case Study

Organisation Overview – Your Homes Newcastle

Your Homes Newcastle is one of the largest property management organisations within the North East, providing high quality homes together with person-centred customer support.

The Challenge

As a local housing association, Your Homes wanted to provide homes where people are warm and comfortable, are able to control the environment they live in, and are assured that problems which can cause upset and concern, such as mould, damp and condensation are proactively avoided.

The Solution

Northumbria academics, along with partners from BIM Academy and the National Energy Foundation, worked with Your Homes Newcastle to find out more about how its customers live in their homes, and developed a solution which could lead to a change in how homes are designed in the future. With permission from customers, sensors were fitted in apartments, monitoring factors such as electricity usage, room temperature, humidity, light and how householders move around the rooms within their buildings. This can be used to understand how customers use buildings, provide alerts and advice which will help them live more comfortably, and influence the design of buildings to better reflect customers’ requirements. The project has been funded by Innovate UK, with the aim of integrating building design information, sensor data and feedback from building users to produce meaningful alerts and advice to builders and owners.

Dr Kay Rogage, Research Fellow in Digital Living at Northumbria and an active member of the University’s BIM Academy Research Team explains: “One of the benefits of this system is that it can be customised, so for example an alert could be set up so that when the humidity in an individual flat or room goes above a certain level the building owner or occupant would be notified.

“The data would also be displayed on an online dashboard, showing humidity levels over a few days or weeks, so patterns and potential issues could be identified.

“For the landlord this would mean the conditions which lead to mould and mildew could be identified early on, before they develop, minimising the costs incurred by treating the problem, significantly reducing the number of complaints and providing more comfortable living conditions for tenants.”

The Impact

The team now hope to source additional funding to develop the prototype into a commercial grade software which could be used by housing associations, property owners, developers and others working within the housing and building sector.

The prototype would include additional features, such as the ability to extract data from Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) reports - used by the Government to assess and compare the energy and environmental performance of homes.

The reports contain useful information such as the estimated energy consumption of a building and these values could be included into the current alert system to automatically trigger an alert if the estimates are exceeded.

If you are interested in collaborating with Northumbria University on a research project, contact us today and we can discuss your needs in more detail.

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