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How can smart controls help you get more out of a SuperHome?

Posted by NEF Gabby on 9 September 2016 at 2:50 pm

As technology forms an increasingly central part of our lives, more of us are considering how we can use it to exercise more control of our homes. Chris and Lucy Ronketti are already ahead of the game, and thinking ‘smart controls’ in their SuperHome.

Smart heating control
Chris is now much more in control of heating his home, with the ability to modify its temperature remotely via the Hive Thermostat with its mobile app. This better temperature control has led to higher thermal comfort in all rooms and reduced heating and hot water bills. Chris says: “Before we overheated the rooms, as my wife or I would often be late home from work with the house being heating unnecessarily”.

Image: The Hive thermostat allows you to control your heating remotely

Smart use of surplus solar electricity
A Solar iBoost helps the couple get more from their solar by diverting surplus electricity generated by solar PV panels to their immersion heater rather than exporting it. Chris has found this technology easy to use and an electrician set it up within only an hour with no previous training! The set up and display are intuitive and it has been a significant saver, saving over 1000kWh per year since it was installed. The panels deliver 10kWh of electricity on a typical day; 2-3kWh for domestic use, around 5kWh for water heating with just the remaining 1-2 kWh being exported. In summer generation doubles to around 20kWh.

Smart inverter
The couple’s Solaredge Inverter has given them greater confidence in each solar panel’s performance. This technology uses individual power optimizers (per panel) to reduce the effect of shading should this impact a single solar panel. This was especially important in the Ronketti’s East facing array which was impacted by large old-growth trees.  It also has a remote interface showing current, daily, weekly, monthly and annual generation.  This function also has the ability to show you feed-in tariff generation revenue so it helps you keep track of the revenue your array is generating for you.

Accessing this data showed that one of the panels was underperforming, so the installer replaced it without charge. Chris is also able to time discretionary loads such as the dishwasher and washing machine for periods of peak solar generation using the historical generation graphs. It is compatible with other technologies such as the Tesla Powerwall which provides battery storage of solar electricity, so is fully future-proofed for when battery storage reaches grid parity.

Image: You can monitor how each individual solar panel is performing online

Visit to find out more

It is inspiring to see how these innovative technologies have helped Chris and Lucy take greater control over their energy use. To find out more, visit Chris and Lucy’s Beaconsfield home for free on Sat 10/Sun 11 Sep as they participate in this month’s SuperHome Open Days. A home viewing with a guided tour will allow you to quiz the homeowner and get frank feedback on what worked and anything that didn’t. These smart controls represent only a few of the changes the couple have made in refurbishing their 1960s home for a 74% carbon saving. To receive full details including directions, register your place in advance at

Photos from Solar Edge, Hive

Written by Sam Tonge


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