Digitalisation and Internet of Things for heat pumps

Evaluation of privacy aspects when using connected heat pumps in private households


Whether intelligent heating systems or remote-controlled roller shutters, the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming ever more important in private building automation. In the field of domestic air conditioning and ventilation technology, heat pumps are frequently integrated into the IoT, which means they are connected to an online cloud. They can receive different kinds of data, ie weather data, in order to heat preventively and save energy, but also "track" user habits.

Which implications does this have for households where such products are installed? How can privacy and data security be maintained and what impact do new IoT applications and business models of manufacturers have on residential users?

International Energy Agency starts research cooperation

To address the specific opportunities and challenges for heat pumps in the Internet of Things from different perspectives, an international research cooperation was started within the Heat Pump Centre (HPC) of the International Energy Agency. 

At the ITA, the challenges of these systems are examined from a data protection perspective. The focus here is on data protection by design, data protection-friendly defaults and secure data processing within IoT heat pump systems. For example, what happens to a household's data when its occupants change? 

Networked heat pumps will also lead to new applications and business models. The ITA will also look at opportunities and threats of these developments from the perspective of various stakeholders. For example, pilot projects are already underway in which households equipped with centrally coordinated IoT heat pumps are reducing the load on the electricity grid. In these pilot projects, the air in the room is used as a thermal buffer, thereby helping to balance the load better throughout the day.

In Austria, the FH Burgenland, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Technical University Vienna are project partners of the national team, the ITA is part of the project on behalf of the AIT.