Putting in the infrastructure

Hi folks,
I'm in the middle of doing a whole host of activities to improve our new home with an eco-retrofit before we move in - such as triple glazing, woodfibre insulation on external walls, an MVHR system, rewiring/plumbing and a 4kw PV system.

What I am just realising is that I have not focussed much on the energy monitoring and management side of things so far with this project but I'm now wondering if I should be, given that the builders will soon enough get to the plastering stages and I may have missed an opportunity to embed any necessary infrastructure services that might be useful later down the line...

I am putting Ethernet into most rooms and have some 50mm waste pipe conduits running between key places (e.g. meter/consumer unit/inverter cupboard and another service cupboard) but if I want to later on (no spare time now) incorporate system monitoring and management solutions is there other stuff I should be thinking about embedding?

The PV panels come with output recording via the inverter and remote display unit (sunny beam).

One thing I had thought of earlier on was a moisture/humidity monitor embedded beneath the insulation on the walls as there has been a lot of discussion about vapour pressure and interstitial condensation issues with the builder on this project. Does anyone have experience of using these and getting the data off them? How about low-power zigbee devices? We're having an air-tightness layer so it could be difficult to access them.

Many thanks,

Jérôme's picture

Re: Putting in the infrastructure


Short answer to a large question.

The humidity sensor in the wall is an interesting idea. Since the problem can be localized, you should aim at a weak point. You're going to have to go through the air-tightness layer. A RF module probably wouldn't fit and you'd need access to change batteries anyway. It seems feasible to let a sensor wire go through, with a tape to make that air-proof. You could have the sensor arrive in a bathroom (moist room) cupboard where you'd fit a case with a RF or ethernet module.

The ethernet connectivity is a good point. The project here is targeted on instrumenting existing buildings, I suppose, and is built on RF, but ethernet is nice as well and absolutely feasible. I think lunarok here is in the same situation as you.

Good luck for your project !

Mattia Rossi's picture

Re: Putting in the infrastructure

And while we're at it, put as many ethernet cables as you can, two for a 'utility room' is the minimum, three or four for a media room (tv,games entertainment,sat,media player and you're out of ports ...) , and think about the best place where to put a serious network switch, otherwise you'll end up with lots of local switches. While I was at it I also centralised the sat/tv signal with one of these: http://www.spaun.de/?lang=en&modul=products&product=842397&productname=SMK9982F and ran lots of sat cables (one in every room, two or more where I planned to have eventually a sat decoder); one added benefit is that sat and tv signal travel over a single cable and are splitted at the socket. At the moment I am probably using 20% of them, but I have moved things around the house a lot of times and have never been in need of running other cables/breaking walls to get theme where I needed them.

For monitoring purposes, since the data goes either over ethernet or rf you are covered on that side, the only other thing is that you will need a socket near the utility meters to power the nodes/measure voltage ...


Oh, did I say add more ethernet cables ? ;)

Robert Wall's picture

Re: Putting in the infrastructure

Just add lots of pipes - and a means to get at each end of each section.

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