Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


NESS-SW Report Summary

Project ID: 735933

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NESS-SW (DOMESTIC HOT WATER SMART MANAGEMENT)

Reporting period: 2016-08-01 to 2017-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Water is a critical natural resource upon which all social and economic activities and ecosystem functions depend. Water resources underpin poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability, contributing to improvements in social well-being and inclusive growth. Given an increasing population in the EU, and the potential effects of climate change, water is increasingly recognised as a challenge to tackle in EU.

In total water abstraction, public water supply accounts for approx. a fifth of water use across Europe. Main users of water in the EU were households, 2/3 of the total consumption. Thus, major uses of water are carried out through and within buildings: 70-80% of water delivered from the public water supply system is used for domestic needs within buildings.

Domestic Hot Water (DHW), defined as human water needs (such as personal hygiene, toilet flushing, laundry, cooking and cleaning) is the dominating use of water in buildings and occurs in both residential (households) and non-residential (commercial, public and industrial) facilities. The residential water use represents 72% of the total water use in buildings, and 28% for non-residential buildings.

In addition, Domestic Hot Water use is directly related to the energy consumption of buildings. Inefficient use of hot water also leads to higher energy use, with extra financial and environmental costs; an estimated 10-20% of the overall energy consumption for heating purposes within EU is used for DHW.

The prevalence of large amounts of water waste has been proved to be a today challenge and nowadays the management of DHW is still far from optimization. More than the 45% of the total water consumption per person a day is for domestic use, being 150 l/inhabitant/day the global average water consumption level in highly developed countries.

The objective of this project is to introduce into the global market an innovative smart management system for domestic hot water consumption that brings the hot-water to the point of consumption, maintaining the taps closed and without wasting a drop. The system aims to allow control, program and register the DHW consumption in households and other kind of facilities with similar consumption patterns like hotels. This technology, called “NESS-SW” system, will allow:

1) To save 18-36% of daily personal DHW consumption, 39 litres per day approx. (144 liters/capita/day water consumption).
2) To reduce costs in the monthly water bill up to 27.2%.
3) To increase the user convenience and comfort in their daily activities, taking advantage of the waiting time.
4) To influence the consumer behaviour by the access to water consumption statistics and gamification.

The NESS-SW system will constitute an integrated solution to recirculate all the water in non-proper temperature using the elements of the conventional plumbing installation, warning the user when the hot water is ready. In addition, the DHW Management System will allow the user to remotely control water consumption parameters. The successful introduction into the market of NESS-SW will enable to reduce water loses in the domestic sector as one of the most immediate measures to decrease consumption by the individual user.
The reduction in water consumption as well as the implementation of sustainable management practices has been identified as strategic priorities not only in Europe but globally. Also a change is necessary in the current consumer behaviour patterns based on water savings, respect and awareness of this resource, its equitable distribution and its assessment as ecological and social asset.

Thanks to the NESS-SW system, while customers would receive a new technology to increase their life quality by saving water, energy, and money, on the other hand, everyone in the region is a beneficiary of the system implementation, for different reasons:

1) Less water wasted means more water for everyone, making it more accessible and decreasi

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The feasibility study aimed at establishing a duality problem-solution related with the development and commercialization of a water saving technology within the residencial and tertiary sectors, named “NESS-SW”.
Métrica6, the company executing this study, is an R&D company specialised in the development of innovative products and technologies like NESS-SW, whose first version, avoids the wastage of cold water generated every time an user has to wait for hot water. This initial solution evolves through the report towards an integral control and management tool for hot water supply.
For the study, we made the following research:
a. Market approach in macroeconomic terms for several sectors: construction, water, smart home, smart water, sustainable building and Internet Of Things (IOT).
b. In-depth analysis of British and German markets, its regulation and marketing strategy. Those markets were selected from previous analyses by Métrica6, prooving its high potential due to their national cultural, economic and environmental strategies.
c. Development roadmap.
d. Conclusions and future lines of action.
According to the goals established in the initial proposal, the project shall continue with the updated and better-defined strategy set up in this feasibility study. Back in the application, Métrica6 had an innovative technology to develop internationally, but lacked of precise information of the countries to first deliver it. Focusing the study in UK and Germany (apart from Spain, where the basic NESS® technology is being commercialised since 2015), Métrica6 found the information needed to develop the international development roadmap to create and commercialise NESS-SW technology in these three countries at first, and then, with the experience gained, continue the expansion towards the rest of Europe and abroad.
One of the goals of this feasibility study was to identify barriers within the markets Métrica6 expects to access to. Regarding the UK market, Métrica6 has found that for a smart network to become operational in the UK, a number of substantial barriers such as the fragmentation of the sector, slow adoption of new technologies, no holistic vision being set out for the sector, and lack of SME development needs to be overcome. Some of the obstacles in this sector are the time and economic costs undergone by SMEs to carry out full scale testing for each utility, the lack of access for SMEs to funding in order to allow them to bring their product to full scale development and the need for awareness and knowledge among the society about Smart Water merits. In addition, technology and utility companies have not developed full business plans that demonstrate the true cost of smart water technology and who will reap the reward (initial costs of deployment, payback period, etc.). The government, utilities and consumers’ fear of change related to the adoption of technology on a large scale also needs to be overcome. Besides, there is no strategic, holistic vision set out by the UK Government for smart water solutions which results in SMEs, utility companies, regulators and customers having different perspectives of what smart water is, and what it should offer cities. This lack of vision also acts to constrain legacy investments. Therefore, the water utility sector lacks a holistic view of the water industry and that is why they are reluctant to change what they do not know about. The lack of knowledge extends to utility and analyst companies that do not posses the correct level of data to make water systems fully smart; in this sense, it is found a need for water metering that would take around 3 to 5 years of collecting and interpreting the data after installing the water metering systems; adding to this the political pressure applied to Ofwat and utility companies to keep the coss of household bills low.
On the other side, the higher first cost is consistently perceived as a problem across Europe and it is selected

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

For the initial introduction of the new solution, the relevant market segment is Residential buildings. The number of dwellings in EU in 2013 was 214 million. While population size clearly impacts upon domestic use of water, the size of households, in terms of the number of occupants, is also a key driving force. The average household size was 2.3 members and the most common household type was the single person living alone (32.7%).

A 4 member’s family in Europe living in a 150-200m2 house will waste up to 29.000 liters of water per year. Every time they turn on a hot water tap or a shower, they wait an average of 33s for the water to run hot. Based on an EU average water price of EUR 1.91€/m3, this equates to an annual extra cost of EUR 55.39 €/year.

Thus, within the Residential buildings market segment, the target customers for initial introduction of NESS-SW are those EU households with 3 or more inhabitants which account for 38% (81 million) of the total housing stock in Europe, due to the rapid yet sustainable return on investments.

The second market segment is hotels. The number of hotels in EU was 202.290 in 2013. Hotels are among the top five types of buildings in the service sector for water and energy consumption:
a. In hotels the water use from DHW represents between 33-35%. With an average consumption of 825 liters/room occupied.
b. DHW is the second largest user of the total energy demand, accounting for up to 17% of the total energy consumption.

Undoubtedly, one of the most important features of the developed NESS-SW technology is the immersive interaction the user gets with device. Previous NESS® (basic) technology saved water passively, as it was the technique itself that made it possible. With NESS-SW, people saving water will be not only the people who can, but the ones that really want it. Innovative NESS-SW develops a completely new UI/UX to boost environmental awareness among the users and the society.
Consequently, NESS-SW will suppose the creation of a huge-impact database of experimental data for water usage that does not exists globally nowadays (as usage information actually comes from forms and surveys, which is proven to differ from real experimental data). This information can be the cornerstone to unveil new technologies and approaches to solve the dramatic problems the world would face in the water and construction industries, related to climate change and natural resources.
Last but not least, environmentally speaking, the accumulated impact foreseen for year 2021 surpasses 600.000m3 of drinkable water saved just in the three countries of action. This amount of water saved also accounts for energy reduction in the water cycle which varies between countries (if calculated using, for example, British average energy costs for water and wastewater cycles, of 1500kWh/m3, NESS-SW will reduce energy bill by 900.000GWh by 2021). On the top of all that, Métrica6 would have helped to develop a more sustainable way of building and way of life using NESS-SW technology.

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