With a common goal of achieving an energy transition, Rik Voorn and three like-minded colleagues came up with Factory Zero in 2016. Building and renovating has to be faster, cheaper and more sustainable. This requires a radical change in the prevailing building practice; from traditional craft to the application of industrial technologies. In 2017, the first compact building-integrated energy module was a reality. With its first product, the iCEM (intergrated climate and energy module), Factory Zero promises to guarantee a healthy and comfortable indoor climate that fully meets the conditions of the Energy Performance Allowance Act and the Building Code. The module provides a home with conditioned, healthy air, heat and ventilation.
Data communication is an inseparable part of the energy modules Factory Zero provides to make homes energy efficient in an easy and affordable way. In Capestone, the innovative scale-up found a like-minded flexible partner capable of providing the necessary 4G solution for the desired reliable, fast and secure data connections.
”A managed cloud service offers us the possibility to monitor and manage the routers and thus the modules remotely. In product selection we were advised by our regular software partner, who connect us with Capestone for 4G hardware. An expert party with short lines and direct delivery.”
The iCEM combines the smart control of heat recovery (WTW) with heat pump technology. This plug and play system is integrated and assembled on site within a day. Thanks to the all-in-one concept, it takes a lot of work off the hands of builders. Fewer people are needed during the renovation and the house is made energy neutral in no time. Important advantages due to the shortage of well-trained employees on the building site.
Factory Zero’s iCEMs not only offer many advantages for the construction industry. Depending on the options chosen, the supplier of the house, the landlord and the occupant have the possibility to read out the performance data of the module, at different aggregation levels. All energy flows and the PV system are monitored in real time. From energy consumption to insight into the air quality of the home. To be able to carry out the maintenance and servicing of their PV systems efficiently and to reduce costs, the data from the modules had to be read out. For Factory Zero, this is especially important to be able to perform maintenance and servicing efficiently and reduce costs.
To read the data from the modules, the Teltonika RUT240 and RUT950 are used with an eSIM from sister company Comgate. Rik Voorn, director of Factory Zero says: “A managed cloud service offers us the possibility to monitor and manage the routers and modules remotely. We were advised in our choice of product by our regular software partner, who brought us into contact with Capestone for 4G hardware. An expert party with short lines and direct delivery.”
Due to the combination of the 4G routers and connectivity from Capestone, Factory Zero always has up-to-date insight into the energy consumption and air quality per residence. With this information, residents can, for example, be advised on how they can be more conscious of their energy consumption.
A special group of customers of Factory Zero are housing corporations. Just like the residents, they too are given the opportunity to see the consumption per house. Factory Zero must be able to demonstrate that the energy performance of the houses correspond with the agreements that the corporations have made with their tenants. After all, the corporations charge their tenants an energy performance fee (epv) for their energy-efficient homes. “We have a hard obligation to housing associations to demonstrate that what we promised to deliver we can deliver. If the data quality is poor, that’s difficult. And that has financial consequences for the housing associations,” said Voorn.
Because Factory Zero is constantly working to further improve the iCEMs, the company had quite a few requirements for the communication partner in addition to reliability. “They had to fit our DNA.” With Capestone, that is definitely the case, believes Voorn. “It is an innovative party, which thinks along, is flexible and service-oriented and helps facilitate our developments. And there is also a personal click, because business is also about people.”
Factory Zero has a number of homes that act as test sites for new functionalities. Roach: “The Capestone solution enables us to do that in phases.” Given the growth that Factory Zero expects to see in the coming years in terms of the number of installed units and their functionality, the amount of data to be transmitted will also increase significantly. The company is therefore certainly already looking at the opportunities that will come within reach with the rollout of the 5G network as the successor to the 4G network. “Think of Internet of Things and control per room. That places different demands on our units and on communications,” says Voorn. Ultimately, everything has to be able to talk to everything. We want to unburden the resident. The nice thing is that Capestone is involved in our development roadmap.”
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