Queen's University

Smartphone Technology in Economic And Environmental Analysis

It is well established that building energy audits provide occupants and owners with valuable information and tools to help reduce emissions, conserve energy, and reduce operating costs. Our research investigates the potential effects of advances in smartphone technology as a tool to implement building energy audit programmes to increase ECM uptake and increase the resulting environmental and economic benefits. It is clear that a versatile, easy to use programme designed to run on smartphones, which could be widely distributed, could end up increasing the effectiveness of government-sponsored energy efficiency programmes and provide the ability to instantly respond to changing conditions within the home retrofitting market.

Fast Internet connections and the technical evolution of modern smartphones provide an energy audit platform with additional features including: (i) quasi-real time analysis, (ii) dynamic information sharing and continuous user engagement, (iii) geospatial customization, (iv) an enhanced catalogue of ECMs, (v) ECM ranking and user education, and (vi) the ability to constantly evolve. A case study for Southeastern Ontario of 157 thousand homes is provided that shows that 55 years is needed to complete the energy audits for all the dwellings in the region following a traditional model. However, the results of the smartphone-based audit programme rapidly overtakes traditional audits and by 20 years have more than a factor of two–five additional audits completed, with the cumulative carbon dioxide savings from smartphones surpassing traditional audits between 13 and 17 years with conservative assumptions. Our research shows that an advanced and expanded home energy auditing programme that uses smartphone technology could provide significant economic and environmental benefits when compared with current programmes and have a significant contribution to large-scale CO2 reduction strategies.

Leslie, Patrick, Joshua M. Pearce, Rob Harrap, and Sylvie Daniel. "The Application of Smartphone Technology to Economic And Environmental Analysis of Building Energy Conservation Strategies.International Journal of Sustainable Energy 31.5 (2012): 295-311.