LEEDR: Low Effort Energy Demand Reduction (Part 2 of the Call)

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Civil and Building Engineering

Abstract

Climate change is a problem that threatens the world and is caused by the release of greenhouse gas emissions, such as Carbon Dioxide from burning fuels like gas and oil. Our dwellings in the UK consume 30% of the country's total energy demand and so that we can reduce the environmental impact of our lifestyles and create greater energy security by consuming less, the UK Government has laid out a road map of measures that will deliver a zero carbon (or as close as possible) housing stock by 2050, affecting all homes in the UK.A key step on the way to 2050 is the installation of so-called 'smart-meters', which the Government has decided will be rolled out to every house in the UK by 2030. These meters will deliver much greater information to both energy providers and householders. These meters will mean more accurate and transparent billing and should stimulate a more competitive energy market, which would benefit consumers. This greater level of information about how we use energy in and around the home can help us understand where we are wasteful and can tolerate a reduction in consumption and when and where changing our habits and/or lifestyle is not acceptable.What is not understood fully is the relationship between the householder and their preferences and tolerances to change and the sorts of pressures and constraints placed on the energy providers for energy production. Today we enjoy the luxury of having as much energy as we want on demand 24hours a day, but increased reliance on renewable sources, such as wind turbines, combined with a need to reduce our consumption as a nation is likely to mean that more flexible supply and generation systems will become more common and this will have implications for how we use energy in the home. We need to find new ways to help us understand how and where we can reduce our consumption without unacceptable impact on our lifestyles. One way to do this is by understanding how everyday practices in the home (including the use of digital media) result in the consumption of energy and how these practices may change in the future because of societal trends ( e.g. the aging population, remote working, broadband in every home) and then to see how this information can offer opportunities to develop products and services that are attractive to the householder and that have a real impact on energy consumption in the home.The challenges are both technological and sociological and so this research brings together academic experts in the fields of social science, user interface design, product design, building modelling and energy consumption, systems engineering and computer science with householders, energy providers and business to focus on the issue of using digital technology for reducing energy demand in the home. This team contends that in order to develop ways in which householders can reduce their energy consumption significantly, with relatively little effort on their part, the needs of the user must be understood in the wider context of a changing energy landscape and that this can lead to the development of new ideas that can be developed into business opportunities that benefit the UK economy.

Planned Impact

The reduction in our consumption of energy is critical if the zero carbon 2050 targets are to be met by the UK building stock. The ongoing refurbishment of the UK housing stock involving the installation of cavity and loft insulation will continue to be rolled out to include harder to treat properties, such as those with solid wall construction. The introduction of renewable energy technologies and small scale generation will also progress and the development of a new dynamic energy market will enable energy trading through a nationwide roll out of smart-meters. After these measures have been completed any further reduction in energy demand will only come from changes in energy consuming behaviour. This project will generate the underpinning understanding of domestic energy practice and how these can be changed to affect a significant impact on the UK's energy demand. Householders, energy providers, industry and business associated with product design and energy services and UK Government will benefit from this research. The development of new products and services for the UK market will be adaptable for other countries, given UK business a competitive advantage in the global market. Householders will benefit from the development of new products, services and information aimed at reducing their energy consumption, having a direct impact on their fuel bills. Education about energy information and its potential value is also important and this work will impact on the understanding of what the smart-meter roll out can do for the consumer as well as for the energy provider. Energy providers gain invaluable knowledge and understanding that will help them develop new approaches to promote energy demand reduction and will bridge the gap that exists between the inevitable changes that the UK faces relating to the generation control and of energy, and how to deliver this to the householders, their customers. Industry and business associated with product design and energy services will benefit directly from the generation of potential business opportunities, which will stimulate product manufacture. In particular the intervention design tool will help organisations to design effective future products and services aimed at energy demand reduction. UK Government will benefit from this research; this work interfaces with the 2050 roadmap to zero carbon homes. It informs the rollout, use of and potential for information technologies that use data such as that generated by smart-meters. The economy will be stimulated through the development of new business opportunities, that will give a market driven impact on CO2 reduction. The measures and methodologies developed could potentially form part of the future 'whole-house' energy targeting exercise. It is likely that the work will also deliver some understanding of the role, shape and form of communities, that could form the basis for energy policy development. Engagement of industry, business and government beyond the project partners is intended through workshops and dissemination activities and this will lead to a fast route to seed ideas and stimulate change in UK industry. Documents tailored for specific audiences is intended to maximise the impact of the project findings and in addition, Video stories and blogs will be used to inform the global public about the issues and findings and lessons learnt in the course of the research.

Publications

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T Coughlan (Author) (2013) Methods for Studying Technology in the Home

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Pink S (2013) Hanging out at home: Laundry as a thread and texture of everyday life in International Journal of Cultural Studies

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Pink S (2014) Digital-visual-sensory-design anthropology: Ethnography, imagination and intervention in Arts and Humanities in Higher Education

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Marini D. (2015) Estimatingwaste heat from domestic hotwater systems in UK dwellings in 14th International Conference of IBPSA - Building Simulation 2015, BS 2015, Conference Proceedings

 
Description New understandings about how engineering and building physics researcher can work with design and social science based researchers. we have developed a new and scalable method for assessing the impact of ventilation on energy demand using home monitoring data. Developed new insights into how space heating is operated in the home, and how this driven by domestic routines. We understand how to tailor demand reductions to individual households, and why this is so important for estabishing effective demand reduction strategies
Exploitation Route There is significant potential for the ventilation and household demand reduction methods to be implemented by a commercial organisation operating in the home energy service peace.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Energy

 
Description Still difficult to say, however the website 'energyanddigitalliving.com' has been in use since it went live at the end of 2014 - I do not have the visitation statistics to hand. There have been to report/information documents made freely available on the loughborough institutional repository: 'LEEDR: what are the results? Participant feedback for H99' viewed 1889 times and downloaded 1024 times (6/3/20) and 'LEEDR Household recruitment: procedures, materials and methods' viewed 1858 and downloaded 1371 times (6/3/20) Leedr home energy dataset viewed 1368 times, downloaded 203 times (6/3/20) Leedr home insight cards viewed 1692 times, downloaded 342 times (6/3/20)
Sector Energy
 
Description End Use Energy Demand-Working with the Centres
Amount £598,392 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/M006735/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 10/2016
 
Description TEDDINET
Amount £559,891 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L013681/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2013 
End 08/2017
 
Description Thermal Energy Challenge
Amount £1,238,712 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N021304/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2016 
End 02/2019
 
Title LEEDR Home Energy dataset 
Description The LEEDR project (http://leedr-project.co.uk) was funded through the EPSRC (EP/I000267/1) between 2010 to 2014 to understand domestic energy consumption in the context of everyday family life. The project engaged comprehensive, high resolution engineering based empirical monitoring (presented here) with social science and user centered design methods that employed video data, accessible from http://energyanddigitalliving.com. This data set presents the monitoring data from 20 households, maintained by Richard Buswell (r.a.buswell@lboro.ac.uk), Building Energy Research Group (BERG), School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, Loughborough University. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact 85 downloads, 680 views used on Hothouse project 
URL https://lboro.figshare.com/articles/LEEDR_project_home_energy_dataset/6176450
 
Description 2014 universities week 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The format is a take on the Cafe Scientifique format, in this instance called a Researchers Cafe. The event runners describe it as an event where "visitors are encouraged to have a drink and join researchers in an informal atmosphere to discuss some of the burning issues of the day."

Stimulated thinking about energy reduction in the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description CIBSE-CIB symposium on 17th Oct 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Designing & Operating Buildings for PEOPLE
CIBSE - CIB - IBPSA England Symposium

Reporting on human interactions with window and hot water use in residential buildings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Presentation to Smart Energy GB of REFIT project findings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation of research findings from the REFIT project to the marketing team for Smart Energy GB responsible for the design of behaviour change interventions associated with the roll out of Smart Meters to all UK homes. This led to a further presentation of more detailed findings in order to inform the content of a white paper on behaviour change. Smart Energy GB have asked to reference REFIT findings in their forthcoming white paper on behaviour change.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Workshop at O2 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Workshop to explore with senior marketing staff at O2 opportunities to develop service propositions to support future families. Insights from the design and social science research within LEEDR was used to generate workshop materials that were used to develop future service propositions as part of an all day workshop. This activity was undertaken with Forum for the Future who helped the academic staff present research findings in a form suitable for dissemination to industry professionals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014