What is the SENDER project?
SENDER is a project funded by the European Commission (Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 957755) which aims at developing new automation and monitoring devices that can schedule domestic electricity consumption to make homes energy-efficient and to help the electric grid be ready to rely mainly in renewable energy sources. The project is run by a European consortium, gathering organisations with long-established expertise in the promotion of renewable and affordable energy in Europe. You can find detailed information about the consortium members in the Partners section (link).
SENDER will run a one-year pilot approximately between the years of 2023 and 2024 to test these devices in real households in Spain, Austria and Finland.
How does SENDER make my home more efficient?
Numerous households across Europe have a higher energy expenditure than they need to live their lives as usual. This is so because often more than the necessary, energy is consumed to complete various tasks at home. The SENDER device, which we call the SENDER Box, will be capable of shifting consumption to the optimum time, based on each country’ and participant’ specificities (energy prices, consumption patterns, weather conditions, etc.).
The SENDER device works automatically and smartly, which means that you will not have to intervene to reschedule your consumption: it will do so on its own.
How can I, by having SENDER at home, make the grid more ready for a faster energy transition?
The generation of renewable energy varies a lot over time. It depends, for example, on how strong the wind blows, and on whether it is day or night. In parallel, people’s energy consumption sometimes coincides, creating peaks in demand. If peaks in demand happen at the same time than renewables are at their lowest (when there is no wind / sun, etc.), other energies, such as fossil fuels, are also used to provide electricity.
The SENDER device can schedule the consumption of households not only to make them more efficient, but also to distribute the consumption of European citizens over time, in order to avoid peaks in demand and, therefore, the inclusion of larger shares of fossil fuel energy.
Participating in the pilot trial will not do so in practice: the number of households will not exceed 100 in Finland and in Spain respectively, and 200 in Austria, which are too few for it to already assist the grid in avoiding the use of fossil fuel energy. Nonetheless, the goal of the pilot is to learn how to best do so, in order to commercialise and replicate the SENDER devices across Europe in the near future.
Where will the project take place?
SENDER will be implemented in practice in three pilot areas: Alginet (Spain), Weiz (Austria), and Espoo and Tampere (Finland). The project can accept up to 100 volunteering households in each site – 200 in the case of Weiz. These households will be given the necessary automation and monitoring devices to schedule consumption in a manner that makes your home more energy efficient, and that helps the grid rely primarily on renewable energy sources.
What requirements do I need to meet to participate?
The requirements to participate are the following:
- To live in one of the three pilot sites
- To live in a house that has electricity, it does not matter whether you own or rent it
- To have internet connection at home
- To register through a consent form authorising the project to install the SENDER devices at your home and allowing the consortium to collect your energy consumption data, as well as basic personal details (for more information on data protection and usage, see question 9)
- If selected:
- To download on your phone the SENDER app
- To commit to maintain the SENDER device switched on until the end of the project (as much as possible)
However, in case that there are more than 100 volunteers per pilot site (200 in Weiz), the SENDER project will give priority to households with profiles of energy usage that can help most in understanding how to better schedule consumption to maximise energy savings, and to support the grid in the energy transition.
What this means in practice is that we are looking for a variety, for different types of households. That can be you, so do not hesitate to sign up for participation!
If I volunteer to participate, what does it entail?
If you decide to participate, you will join the project for one year. The SENDER Box will be installed for free in your home, and will automatically schedule your consumption to make it more efficient, and to test the ways in which it could also support the grid in divesting increasingly from fossil fuel energy (towards more renewable and sustainable sources). That is, you will live your life as usual and will not have to undertake any action in specific: just make sure to have the SENDER Box switched on.
What is the SENDER Box exactly? What devices will be installed at my home?
The core of the SENDER box consists of a small Raspberry Pi, connected to the electric board, which reads data and sends information about the energy usage at home. It is able to turn on and off home appliances through the SENDER app based on the user needs, based on the energy prices in order to lower your bill, your photovoltaic production (if any), etc. It goes along with a set of sensors which will be also installed at home to keep track of the temperature, humidity, light level and occupancy of the rooms, and small actuators to turn on and off the devices when the SENDER box or the user orders it.
If I join, is there anything I will have to pay?
No, participation is free and all materials and installation costs are covered by the project.
If I participate, is there anything I will have to do in order to enable the SENDER Box to make my household more efficient, and to schedule my consumption to support the grid?
The SENDER automation and monitoring device works by itself. It will adapt to the characteristics of your house, and your energy consumption. Based on that, it will schedule your energy consumption so that you can live your life as usual, but also boosting your personal energy efficiency, and that of the electric grid.
What you will have to do: nothing, just let it be and keep it switched on as much as possible. The SENDER app will showcase information about your consumption and its evolution, providing you with tools to better understand what type of consumer you are, so that you can keep on improving.
What’s more, if you keep it on most of the time, the project will offer you additional energy efficient devices, such as highly efficient light bulbs or smart plugs! In this way, you will be able to increase your energy efficiency even further!
Is my house fit for SENDER? Does the type of house and of appliances that I have affect how much I can improve my consumption?
All houses are fit for SENDER. However, some can benefit more than others, depending on the appliances that they have. Those households equipped with electric vehicles or a PV for self-consumption can generally provide higher flexibility than others and hence enhancing their energy efficiency will have a larger impact, and those households will notice it more strongly. Likewise, if you own a HVAC system or an electric boiler you will also be able to improve your consumption patterns more than the average.
Will the project collect data about my house, and about my energy consumption? How will these data be treated, and what will it be used for?
Yes, the project will collect data from you, your house, and your energy consumption. When you register, you will fill in some basic personal details (e.g., full name, ID, gender, age, employment condition) and about your home (e.g., address, number of inhabitants, whether you have solar panels, or an electric car…). Moreover, the SENDER Box will record your electricity consumption over time.
These data will be collected, stored, and protected by the organisation running the pilot in which you may participate (Eléctrica d’Alginet in Spain, VTT in Finland, Weiz Innovation Centre in Austria [LINKS]). For the purpose of research, these data will be fully anonymised and then shared with the other partners of the consortium, to analyse them. The analysis of the data is aimed at understanding deeply how different houses consume energy, and what opportunities there are to enhance their energy efficiency through the SENDER automation and monitoring devices. Likewise, the analysis will seek to generate conclusions regarding how much the scheduling of domestic energy consumption can assist the grid to better manage periods of peak demand, and to reduce its dependency on fossil fuel energy.
Can the SENDER Box break or default? What would be the procedure to solve that?
In case a failure occurs, the SENDER team will get notified and will be aware of the problem, so you will not need to call or contact. We will contact you to see if the problem can be solved easily or if it requires a visit from an electrician/installer.
Is there anything I have to do if I leave on vacation, or if no one is in the house for a few days?
The SENDER app will allow you to select vacation mode in both cases, until you return. If you do that, the SENDER device will minimise your consumption in order to keep all the essentials working smoothly, while avoiding unnecessary energy consumption. You can also activate this mode remotely!
In addition, the SENDER device is paired with sensors. These sensors will likewise remark that you are not at home and adjust your consumption accordingly.
What happens if I move to a new house?
Unfortunately, you would not be able to remain in the project. This means that you would have to notify project officers your decision to drop out of the project. You will also not be allowed to take the SENDER Box to the new house.
I decided to join SENDER! What comes next?
First, you will need to sign the registration form. To do so, you can either look for the registration link here on the website, or otherwise visit the pilot organisation, and fill in the form in-person. It will be possible for you to do so from September 2022 until February 2023. The moment registration forms are available will be communicated through our website and other social media channels.
Second, SENDER officers will reach out to you to schedule a phone or videocall, in order to discuss in more detail what appliances do you power at home with electricity, and other details about your overall energy uses. This will allow SENDER offices to understand better and plan ahead what type of complements should be added to the standard SENDER Box to fit your home, and to agree with you where best to install the SENDER Box. These calls will take place between two and four weeks after you fill in the registration form.
Third, an installer will contact you to agree on a date in which to visit you at home to install the SENDER Box. The visit will take place between the months of November 2022 and February 2023.
Finally, the SENDER Box will start working in March 2023. Then, it will on its own optimise and schedule your energy consumption to boost your home’s energy efficiency.
Can I stop participating in the project? How?
Yes, you are allowed to sign out of the project at any time. You simply need to notify the organisation running the pilot site in which you are participating, and sign a formal agreement of non-continuity.