What will 20 UK households make of their energy data?

Applied Works has begun its realtime energy data trial with 20 UK households, in partnership with EDF Energy, made possible with funding from Innovate UK’s Energy Game Changer competition.

Energy Game Changer

In September 2016, Applied Works and EDF Energy won an R&D grant from Innovate UK’s Energy Game Changer fund, following a three-stage competitive process, and over 260 applications. With in-home smart technologies advancing at a rapid pace, the funding enables us to expand on our previous research and develop a concept that puts energy data in the hands of consumers to create new markets and change perceptions. This builds on a longstanding relationship with EDF that started in 2012, when we created a real-time energy dashboard to monitor consumption at key venues at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

EDF’s Olympic Pavilion at London 2012

By 2020 the goal is for every UK home to have a smart meter installed, but there is much skepticism amongst consumers around its relevance as a useful addition to managing energy in the home, not to mention concerns about data-protection and security. We believe that to truly engage consumers, the biggest challenge is persuading people to embrace what their energy data can actually do for them.

Energy Data Trial

The 12 month trial is now well underway with 20 nationally representative UK households, feeding real-time usage data from over 100 individual appliances; from washing machines, tumble dryers and irons to TVs, games consoles and hi-fi systems. The data is being aggregated and visualised through a web-based prototype, that allows trial participants to see energy usage trends over extended periods of time, and compare similar appliances across different households.

Energy consumption of computers in 10 UK households

The next stage is to develop a more advanced prototype, that will detect and isolate what specific appliances are doing at different times; when a TV is switched on, off or on stand-by for example; or, individual cycles of a washing machine. This is already revealing some interesting results, such as how much variance there is between typical cycles of the same appliance across different makes and models, and how much appliances left on stand-by are using over the course of weeks and months.

We’re even able to compare a manufacturer’s claimed energy consumption with actual usage, captured in the real world rather than a lab-testing environment. This granularity of appliance-level usage and behavioural data has not been captured before, and provides an ongoing test-bed for developing a proof-of-concept, that will be completed at the end of the trial in January 2018.

We can only publish snapshots of this trial for data protection reasons – if you’d like to know more about the project please get in touch.