Frequently asked questions
What is PassivEnergy?
How does it work?
1. Can PassivEnergy be installed into any home?
The PassivEnergy suite of services have been designed to work in as many homes as possible but there are a few requirements that must be met for our product to work.
2. Will the wireless work in my [big|stone] house?
- Your home must have a broadband internet connection, although the system will run for many weeks if the connection is lost or temperamental.
- For our smart boiler control service: Your home must, like most homes, have a gas or oil fired boiler that can be controlled by a standard programmer or controller. Your home also needs to have a broadband connection.
- For our smart boiler and hot water service: Your home must also have a gas or oil fired boiler that can be controlled by a standard programmer or controller and a broadband connection. Most standard homes in the UK offer a ‘fixed time’ solution to hot water PassivEnergy offers everyone a much more efficient occupancy based control so there is no unnecessary heating for when customers are not there. For most water cylinders PassivEnergy also offers the ultimate solution for a fully monitored service which matches hot water production to hot water consumption ensuring minimal waste.
- For our solar PV monitoring service: You will need to have broadband installed in your home too.
Almost certainly, yes. The wireless standard we're using (ZigBee) has been specifically designed for home management applications in a wide variety of building types all over the world. Unlike other networks (WiFi, for example) ours is a "mesh" network, which means that information can "hop" from device-to-device until it finds a way to get where it needs to be. We can supply dedicated routers (repeaters) to help this process if required in your home.
3. Is it secure?
Absolutely. We've taken great care to protect your information from unauthorised access, whether in the wireless network in your home, over the internet, or in our servers.
4. Can it detect occupancy automatically?
At present, PassivEnergy asks you to give it a daily and weekly schedule of when you expect your home to be occupied, unoccupied, asleep, and so on. You can then dynamically alter things (say, if you come home early) by simply pressing your Occupancy Button in the house or, if you have it, by using the PassivEnergy iPhone App. In the future, we may introduce dedicated detectors to determine if your home is occupied, or we might be able to infer human presence from other data.
5. Can I access PassivEnergy remotely?
Yes, if you have an iPhone you can download the PassivEnergy smart heating service from iTunes. This will let you change your occupancy state from near or far, and let you tell PassivEnergy that you're coming home early or late. Soon, PassivEnergy will be accessible from any web-enabled device.
What will it be able to do in the future?
6. Why do I need PassivEnergy?
We may not realise it, but most of us use far more energy at home than we need. And that costs money and carbon. PassivEnergy has been designed to help you cut out energy waste at home. If you use it well it can help you save money on your energy bills by reducing energy use. It will also make your home more comfortable, make control easier and more accessible.
7. How much does it cost?
For PassivSystems Summer Sale prices click here
8. Whom do I call if there is a problem with my system or service?
Your installer is your service provider. They have been trained to answer many frequently asked questions. If you do have a question that they cannot answer then they will call us and we can help them or you directly. Either way it won’t be long before you are up and running again.
9. Can PassivEnergy be installed in businesses?
Currently our products and services are only available to homeowners.
10. Does PassivEnergy work with no internet connection?
PassivHub needs an internet connection to stay in touch with PassivLiving (our web-based management service) and to facilitate remote management through your iPhone, so we recommend that you always keep connected. However, PassivHub will function normally for days or weeks with no internet connection, so if you need to disconnect it from time-to-time (or if your internet connection isn't that reliable), it will still continue to hold that data until you go online again.
11. How much energy will PassivEnergy save me?
PassivSystems conducted a 12 months field trial of our PassivEnergy service. The average saving across 21 homes was 23%. See our field trial results for more detailed information.
12. How much electricity does PassivHub consume?
We've designed PassivEnergy to consume very little electrical power. We estimate that a typical installation should consume less than 5 Watts. That's less than 4 units of electricity each month, which would cost less than 50p on a typical tariff.
13. Does PassivSystems sell directly to consumers?
Yes. For details of how to buy direct from us click here
14. What makes PassivSystems different from other home energy management products?
The term home energy management is broadly used and means many things! Many home energy management products simply provide information about the electricity you are using at home. Others offer a management solution just for electricity (which makes up 16% of your energy used in the home and just 8% of your bill). The PassivEnergy smart heating service helps you control your heating which represents about 60% of the energy used within most UK homes today. We are also able take care of your hot water by monitoring and tightly managing your hot water tank and hot water accounts for about 16% of your energy bill. At the time of writing (April 2011), no other company in the UK offers this service. In addition, we help you monitor your solar PV system. And you can access all these services through one easy to understand control device.
15. Can I install PassivEnergy myself?
Because it connects directly into your boiler, PassivEnergy is designed only for professional installation by Part P qualified installers. But installation is still quick and easy, through one of our team of nationwide installers.
16. Is PassivEnergy future proof? What happens if I add a renewable to my home?
One of the great things about PassivEnergy is that it has been built on a software platform that is designed to evolve as your needs and energy sources in the home evolve. Thinking of installing solar PV next year? If you choose PassivEnergy’s smart boiler controls today, you will be able to monitor and manage both your heating and hot water and your solar electricity via one interface. Heat pump control and monitoring is in development this year.
17. Does it work outside the UK?
We are looking to expand our operations to Continental Europe and the USA but at the moment (April 2011) PassivEnergy is only available in the UK.
18. What are the Feed-In-Tariff, Renewable Heat Incentive and Green Deal?
These are all UK government initiatives to encourage increased use in approved renewables and energy saving schemes. Click here (hyperlink to Library) for more information.
19. What is PassivLiving?
PassivLiving is our online monitoring dashboard. It effectively takes your home online so that you can see how your preferences and weekly schedule influence the amount of energy you use. If you have our solar PV monitoring service, PassivLiving lets you track your solar panels’ performance too.
PassivLiving is usually sold by subscription by our partners for our smart heating control service, our smart heating and hot water service and our solar PV monitoring service.
PassivLiving is also used by our partners. If you have been sold a subscription it may be part of a maintenance contract. This means your service provider will use PassivLiving to keep an eye on your heating, hot water and solar PV installation for you – contacting you if performance dips, advising you of ways of reducing energy use or perhaps advising you of the benefits of different interventions that would help drive down your energy bills further.
Please note, we never give data access to third parties without your express permission and without there being a direct benefit to you too.