SEAI Launches Smart Home Hackathon


€10,000 prize fund on offer  

  • Internet of Things Key to Reducing Home Energy Use

  • Homes Account For One Quarter of Ireland’s Energy Use

15th April, 2016:  The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) today announced details of a three day Smart Home Hackathon, hosted in conjunction with DCU Alpha Innovation Campus on 13th – 15th May, 2016. There is a total prize fund of €10,000 on offer and the opportunity of free start up office space in DCU Alpha for any teams that want to further develop their project after the hackathon.

The SEAI Smart Home Hackathon will see participants gather in DCU’s Alpha campus where they will be divided into teams and set four challenges; the user experience challenge, the homeowner feedback and behaviour challenge, the energy supply challenge and the home automation challenge.  All challenges were set with one goal in mind; how we can radically enhance the way we use energy in the home. The teams will pitch their solutions to a panel of judges with the overall winners announced at a prize giving ceremony on the Sunday evening.  The hackathon is open to engineers, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs.  Interested participants are encouraged to register via the website

Speaking at the launch, Tom Halpin, Head of Communications at SEAI said: “The residential sector accounts for a quarter of Ireland’s energy use and produces a quarter of energy related CO2 emissions.  Quite frankly this is unsustainable.  There has to be smarter, more integrated ways for us to heat and light our homes and use appliances, that doesn’t cost our economy billions of euro and or cause damage to the environment.”

Halpin continued, “Hundreds of thousands of homeowners have invested in insulation and heating upgrades to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.  However we believe that smart technology and the internet of things hold the key to unlocking the opportunities for visualising energy use in the home, informing homeowner behaviour and helping us use more renewable energy.  The long term target has to be zero-energy homes and disruptive technology will be a key driver.”

Commenting on hosting the hackathon in DCU’s  Alpha campus, DCU President Brian MacCraith said: “A hackathon is a great manifestation of innovation and a focus of creative energy over a short period. You start with problem or opportunity statements such as those that the SEAI have defined, then you work through multidisciplinary approaches to come up with solutions; in some cases they are future concepts but in many cases they are prototypes that can be quickly honed and commercialised. A number of successful products, such as the Ayda IoT Fertility Tracker, has its origins in one of the hackathons we hosted here. And one of the prizes on offer at the SEAI event is free start up office space, mentoring and technical support for any of the start up teams who may want to take their idea forward after the hackathon.”

Those interested in taking part in the Hackathon must register on via this link  Entry is €20 per person.


Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact:

Luke McDonnell

Drury|Porter Novelli

01 2605000 / 085 7127243

About SEAI

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a mission to play a leading role in the transformation of Ireland to a society based on sustainable energy structures, technologies and practices. SEAI is partly financed by Ireland’s EU Structural Funds Programme co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Union.

About the SEAI Smart Homes Hackathon

A Hackathon is an event where engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and innovators come together with those involved in software and hardware development, as well as user experience designers and end customers, to find solutions for specific businesses or industry challenges.  Up to 150 hackers are expected to take part in SEAI’s three day Hackathon which starts at 3pm on Friday 13th May with the winners announced on Sunday 15th at 7pm. The solution that most impresses the judges will win a cash prize of €6,000, with the 2nd and 3rd runners up receiving €3,000 and €1,000 respectively.


The SEAI Smart Home Hackathon Challenges

User Experience Challenge

Consumers don’t choose to use energy.  Instead they want to be warm, or have light or power.  Perhaps smart technology can provide the services we want in a different or better way, or perhaps combined with other services that will achieve greater energy efficiency.

Homeowner Feedback and Behaviour Challenge

Sometimes homeowners feel powerless because they don’t know how much energy they are actually using and whether it could be lower or not.  If homeowners could somehow visualise their energy use then they might do make better energy management decisions and stop wasting energy.

Energy Supply Challenge

Individuals and communities are looking for ways to exploit renewable heat and electricity solutions but encounter different hurdles along the way.  Does smart technology hold the answer to any of these challenges?

Home Automation Challenge

There is a now a proliferation of complementary technologies and solutions that will make our homes smarter. How do we integrate security, assisted living, health, sensors, data analytics, connected cars, remote working and smart grids in a manner that drives down energy usage?

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