Make your city heating (stadsverwarming) smart and connect it Home Assistant energy dashboard

Some places in the Netherlands have city heating. The intention is to reuse warmth from industry to heat your houses and get warm water. In theory this is a very nice system, but in real world this provides pure vendor lock in, as you can’t switch vendor. This makes city heating very expensive for the consumer. Also most of the warmth is not generated by (green) industry residual warmth but generated by burning gas, biomass and other fuels. So not really a green solution. But enough about my complaints about city heating. More important: how can you read the values and get insights of your usage.

The idea of a smart home is not to only control your home, but also get insights out of your home. A warm home and shower is a crucial for a comfortable day-to-day. It’s also the most one of the biggest costs of living. So we need insights.

Home Assistant has an amazing Energy dashboard, that can also your heating by gas. Unfortunately city heating is not measures with M3 gas but it’s measured measurement called GigaJoule (GJ). So how do we get the energy insights of city heating into Home Assistant?

That’s what I’m going to describe in this article :).

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Speaking at the Home Assistant conference

At the end of October, the Home Assistant conference was announced. I’m very excited about home automation and sharing my knowledge. So I decided to submit a talk for the conference. Last week I received the good news that I’ve been selected as a speaker and have the honor to talk as one of the few during the conference.

I strongly recommend you to join the conference, it’s a virtual conference and you can just follow along from your couch. The conference has three tracks with amazing sessions. To help you pick your session, hopefully my session :), I would like to share with you more details of my 30-minute session.

Automate everything! How to make your stupid devices smart

Dec 13 9:00PM–9:30PM (CED – Central European time)
Advanced Track

Sounds great? But what’s the story

Three years ago I build our new house. In the new home, we wanted to have a gas (propane) fireplace. When selecting the fireplace I investigated integration options, the fireplace specs claimed 433MHZ remote controller. This 433MHZ remote should be easy to integrate with Home Assistant. After the fireplace was installed in the house I figured out that I received the new version of the fireplace. Which is always great, but the remote was updated to communicate with a variant of Zigbee. Meaning that I couldn’t integrate with Home Assistant.

During the conference, we will follow the story of how I managed to make my fireplace smart. Highlighting different options and routes available to make devices smart.

Wrapping up by sharing the final solution that made my dumb fireplace smart. I will show you how easy it is to make your dumb devices smart by using ESPHome, a cheap ESP WiFi board, relay modules, some basic wiring (no soldering), and a few lines configuration.

I’ll prove how easy it is by doing an end-to-end live demo and if everything goes well we will light up the fireplace in the last minute of the session*.

*only if demo gods are in favor

Get your 1$ conference ticket and join me in this session where I’ll take you along in the learning journey of my fireplace smart. Get inspired and join the movement, automate everything!