#LetsStartAtHome Challenge Voting


We want to thank everyone who took the time to submit ideas as part of our #LetsStartAtHome Challenge. We were overwhelmed by the response and the ingenuity shown by your solutions. If you want to know more about the challenge, check our previous news.

We have shortlisted the top 5 ideas and want to open the voting of a winner up to our community of fellow developers. You can find below a short description on each idea as well as a form at the end of this page you can use to vote for your favorite idea.

The voting was open until 03.05.2022. Thanks to all who participated in the voting process! You can now find the two winning ideas in this article.

Idea #1: Machine learning algorithms to find correlations

What: A simplified way of calculating potential energy savings.

How: Use machine learning algorithms to compare correlations between parameters that affect potential energy savings to find the most effective way to save energy.

Result: Calculated savings for heat pump electrical use by employing a wood oven for heat generation. This method can similarly be used to determine energy savings for keeping windows shut during winter months.

Idea #2: Switch to Eco mode when I turn on the Fireplace

What: Define an automation that instructs Home Assistant to set the boiler to Eco mode when the wood burning fireplace is on.

How: A wireless Zigbee sensor measures the temperature of the fireplace and triggers the automation to on Eco mode. The user also receives a push notification via smartphone about the change.

Result: By taking advantage of the heat produced by the fireplace the boiler can run more efficiently and use less gas.

Idea #3: Lower hot water target temperature based on weather

What: Use weather forecasts to more efficiently heat water via solar panels installed on the roof. 

How: In this automation, the target temperature of the hot water is lowered when the weather reports predict sunshine. If the weather report forecasts sunshine for the coming day, the hot water target temperature is lowered. This solution is implemented with FHEM home automation, using the 'vitoconnect plugin' and a 'weather plugin', which fetches weather reports from the internet.

Result: Accurately knowing when there will be enough sunshine enables a more sustainable way to produce hot water compared to only using the gas boiler.

Idea #4: Hot water optimization with solar heating

What: The solution optimizes the hot water heating through a solar heating system, based on the roof orientation and the outside temperature. The programming tool named Node Red is used for the visualization of the heating system, especially for the different temperature values of the system. 

How: The automation reads the temperature from the outside temperature sensor of the heating system. The outside temperature is the trigger to change the temperature of the hot water. Based on the outside temperature value, the target temperature of the hot water is increased to a higher level or decreased to a lower level.

Result: Using the heat from outside through a solar heating system and automatically reducing the usage of the gas heating for hot water when there is enough heat available, can save gas and energy in a smart way.

Idea #5: Operating mode based on presence and demand

What: This solution connects the owner's heating system to the home automation system (KNX). The home automation system (see dashboard below) collects information from each room, for example if (and how much) the thermostat valves are opened.

How: The system uses the thermostat valves to detect demand in the house. If all thermostat valves are closed, the operating mode of the heating system is changed to produce only warm water. If someone is at home, the heating system is heating and producing warm water.

Result: The sophisticated dashboard provides transparency about the energy consumption in the house. This helps to identify individual energy saving potentials. Additionally, an automation to detect the demand in the house helps to lever the energy saving potential by only using energy when it is really needed.