Stirling Council Housing is set to deploy portfolio wide connected home technology, using Aico | HomeLINK IoT (Internet of Things) smart sensors. The rollout will be the largest of its kind in the UK, boosting resident health, safety, and wellbeing. 

The 50,000 smart devices will revolutionise tenants’ understanding of their home environment via the easy-to-use app and assist them to make actionable insights and changes. Presently, HomeLINK is installing 150,000 IoT devices and is due to hit 1 million by end of 2024 across the wider social housing sector.

HomeLINK is a European Market Leader in Home Life Safety committed to innovative technology solutions with a suite of IoT devices protecting people and property. Chris Jones, Co-founder and CEO at HomeLINK, tells us, “We primarily started to try and solve problems in social housing.

“The challenges from fuel poverty to retrofitting homes to Net Zero and increasing cost efficiency, whilst at the same time maintaining affordable rent, is very difficult. We saw this great technology being developed in smart homes and IoT in other sectors, but no one was really targeting housing, so we tried to build a platform that would enable that.”

Connecting more homes with IoT sensors

Following Stirling Council’s IoT working trial with Aico | HomeLINK, a wider rollout which includes environmental sensors to collect information around tenants’ homes will be implemented. Collected data will include temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (CO2) gas levels, along with smoke detection sensors. 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. 

Birdseye view of Stirling Housing

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 used in an energy efficient manner. Homes will also benefit from a significant fire safety upgrade and be equipped with connected smoke, heat and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

Sam Collier, Sustainability & Ethics Lead at HomeLINK, tells us more about these IoT benefits: “We’re still learning about the impact of the indoor environment on our health and wellbeing and, given that most of us spend a large portion of our lives inside, it’s an area in which we have a lot more to understand.

“Anyone wishing to better understand the impacts of their environment on their lives should really consider monitoring the conditions in the indoor spaces they inhabit. On top of this, our connected fire and CO devices give households peace of mind by ensuring they’re installed and working properly, protecting lives and property.”

Protecting health, wellbeing and finances

Having the ability to identify the least thermally efficient homes means that Stirling Council as a landlord can take intelligence led decisions to target capital investment programmes at those properties. The Fuel Poverty Act (Scotland), also seeks to protect residents of all households but particularly those in rural, highland and island communities from facing fuel poverty. Stirling council have around 20% of its housing portfolio in rural areas.

Tenant Robert Cairney comments on the rollout, “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 better 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.”

Several private sector landlords are already using connected IoT devices to pre-empt issues. By connecting all of its housing stock, Stirling Council will continue to make intelligence led and data based decisions when maintenance teams now conduct regular safety checks, planning staff can identify trends and improvements, plan budgets and make property investment decisions. It will also trigger preventative maintenance measures by alerting staff to early causes of deterioration in a property’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.

Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.