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Could smart sensors make mould problems a thing of the past?
A team of researchers at Northumbria University believe they have come up with a new method for preventing mould and mildew in new builds using smart sensors.
Mould removal and treatment is a source of anxiety for councils, landlords and homeowners across the country, and cost us millions of pounds in total to fix each year. However, this team of researchers may just have found the answer to make damp problems a thing of the past.
The Smart Connected Buildings Project
Funded by Innovate UK, the Smart Connected Buildings Project intends to combine building design information, sensor data and feedback from users to produce useful alerts for builders and homeowners.
For a year, the research team at Northumbria University, partnered with experts from the BIM Academy and the National Energy Foundation, worked alongside housing organisation Your Homes Newcastle to find out more about how their customers lived their everyday lives.
Smart sensors were fitted in seven apartments to monitor factors such as room temperature, humidity, light, electricity and individuals’ movements within the property. The smart sensors could then use this data to issue helpful alerts.
How could these smart sensors help prevent damp?
Dr. Kay Rogage, Research Fellow in Digital Living at Northumbria University, said: “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 team are now looking for additional funding that would allow them to develop their protype into a commercial grade software. This software could then be used by anyone in the property development or ownership sector, with the added benefit of providing Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) reports, which could in turn be used by the Government to monitor the environmental impact of different homes.