Internet of things


Internet of Things technology helping to prevent damp within social housing

Wednesday, 01 February 2023

Stirling is undergoing the largest social housing rollout of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the UK, with 50,000 devices set to revolutionise tenants’ understanding of environmental conditions in homes.

The deployment carried out by home safety tech giant Aico follows a trial across the council region, which has involved remote sensors monitoring temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas levels, along with smoke detection sensors. This technology is set to dramatically improve the health, safety and wellbeing of residents.

Along with Aico - to deliver the contract, iOpt (environmental monitoring specialists) will install real-time monitors in the Council’s social housing stock to measure temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide and send data wirelessly to a centralised management system. The system will operate over a LoRaWAN network.

Sensors will be fitted initially in empty properties being prepared for new tenants, who will also be supported with energy efficiency advice and guidance.

The technology will provide early alerts on ventilation, dampness, energy inefficiency and other problems while cutting property management and repair costs.

“The technology we have developed is cost-effective, will deliver savings for local authorities at a time of financial uncertainty and help some of the most vulnerable tenants maintain a warm, healthy environment in their own home.

“More than ever, the world is changing at great pace, and we see remote asset monitoring of this kind as a key addition to any energy efficient home. To date, our studies have shown savings of approximately £190 per year per property.”

Dane Ralston

iOpt managing director 

This is the first full rollout of a multi-technology and sensors connected home solution across an entire housing portfolio stock and currently the ‘largest UK social housing sector rollout’, with 50,000 IoT devices being installed over the next 8-10 years in homes managed by Stirling Council Housing Service. 

Environmental sensors around the properties will alert the council in real-time and provide early warning of damp, mould, ventilation and any other potential issues, while helping the tenant to understand energy consumption levels with heating their home.

In a time of fuel poverty, connected devices more often seen in private dwellings are emerging as a powerful tool ensuring social homes are healthy to live in and operate in an energy efficient manner. Homes will also benefit from a significant fire safety upgrades and be equipped with connected smoke, heat and carbon monoxide (chemical formula CO) alarms.

Under the scheme, residents gain access to information on their home’s condition and handy advice on the measures they can take to improve the quality of their home via a dedicated App for Residents.

Aico (HomeLINK) state that across the UK more than 150,000 IoT devices are connected in tenants’ homes and in use by social landlords. Based on current demand, this number is expected to reach a million devices by the end of 2024 bringing about a major change in landlords’ efforts to comply both with regulations but also in offering tenants a better understanding of their home’s environment.

Residents using the free app gain a view of the safety and health of their indoor environment. The app also provides advice and guidance on how to improve living conditions, and live a healthier and safer life whilst reducing carbon footprint and saving money on energy bills.

“I was initially sceptical about what the sensors and technology being put into my home would bring in terms of financial or health benefits. However, by recording moisture in the air, I can be alerted to the risk of damp and mould. Rather than having to keep an eye out for these things myself, my landlord also knows when it is time to come and do repairs or maintenance work on the property.

“This new IoT technology for homes like mine is fantastic because it helps me to feel safer, live in a healthier environment, and reduce costs. I’m more aware of how my home is behaving, and alerted to ways I can save money by using this free cutting edge connected home kit. For example, wasting money trying to heat a home that has gaps in the doors and windows letting heat out, or an inefficient boiler and room heaters that need bleeding. Everyone is concerned about the rising costs of energy but, thanks to these improvements, it’s not a question of eat or heat for me now.”

Robert Cairney


Foot note:

Since this project has been launched Dane and his team from iOpt have gone on to win competitive tenders and secure significant investment for their IoT product for real-time condition monitoring of homes. Here are a few links if you wish to learn more:

- £1M contract with Renfrewshire Council

- a major initiative with Maryhill Housing Association to install the technology in three tower blocks

- securing £600k seed funding

Dane, the CEO of iOpt, presented at this year’s Tech Summit and his presentation – on how IoT is helping to tackle the cost of living crisis – can be viewed here.