Illustration of future energy use

ProjectActive House in the Sustainable City

Active House in the Sustainable City

Smart house optimizes usage of fossil-free electricity, empowering residents with tools to control their electricity consumption. 

At the end of 2012, a test family will move into a prototype flat – a living lab – in the new urban area Stockholm Royal Seaport. During one year, they will use automatic systems and new mobile tools that will enable them to keep track of their electricity consumption. This will help them make sure they use electrical devices when the electricity is at its cheapest and produced in the most environmentally friendly way. The research project involves participants from a broad spectrum of industry actors and academia. RISE Interactive (formerly called Interactive Institute) is responsible for designing the interface between the backend systems and the residents.

In order to tackle the challenge of energy consumption and reduce CO2 emissions, RISE Interactive is involved in a smart grid research project that focuses on empowering residents with tools to control their electricity consumption in their apartments.

“We want people to adjust to the supply and demand of fossil-free electricity. Theoretically, we believe that there are possible savings of up to 30 per cent of CO2 emissions in regards to electricity consumption for an ordinary family,” says Carin Torstensson at the RISE Interactive. She acts as project manager, and she and her colleagues at the RISE Interactive work together with electricity providers, home automation providers, construction companies, white goods sector, and KTH in this two-year research project funded by VINNOVA.

Overview of consumption

The basic assumption is that it is possible to optimize the consumption through automation and change in behavior. But the setting must be the right one. By visualizing the energy consumption pattern throughout the day in a graphical interface, the resident gets incentives to move certain parts of the consumption to more favorable times.

“We are also providing them with a planning tool that enables them to see what the next 24 hour will cost and the effect of their consumption pattern on CO2 emissions,” says Carin Torstensson.  The information needed for this is collected by an automatic system that makes calculations based on instantaneous electricity rates, loads in the electricity network and the degree of environmentally friendly production.

The use of mobile tools like smart phones, is one method to present the information. The project also believes in using ambient tools, i.e. interfaces that influence residents in everyday life in a transient way.

Start with electricity, then add other components

RISE Interactive assumes the role of service developer in the initial phase. Even though the project focuses on electricity, the aim is to add new energy components such as heating and warm water consumption. “Right now, we are building a generic, standardized system that can be reused,” says Carin Torstensson.

Future development

This is the first time the system is being tested. Later on, the research group wants to install it in approximately 150 apartments. Looking into the future, the smart house might also act as storage with batteries being charged during favorable conditions. Also, electric cars can be charged when it´s best for the electricity network and when the electricity production is environmentally friendly. If needed, the electricity can also be transferred back from the car to the house.


RISE Interactive, ABB, Electrolux, Fortum, JM, ByggVesta, HSB, NCC and KTH.





Final report can be found here

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