An Intelligent Digitial Household Network to Transform Low Carbon Lifestyles

Lead Research Organisation: Coventry University
Department Name: Ctr for Built & Natural Environment

Abstract

There are three priorities in UK climate and energy policies: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, specifically CO2 by 80%, by 2050; decreasing fossil fuel consumption especially in domestic properties; and decreasing reliance on imported energy . Buildings account for 40% of the total non-transport energy consumption both in UK and EU, therefore a reduction of energy consumption in houses will make a significant contribution in meeting these targets. On average UK residents spend between 2.7~8.4%, and 0.5~3% of their income on gas and electricity bills, and water bills respectively from the poorest to the wealthiest. In addition, around 4 million people are paying more than 10% of their income on energy bills, some households are paying 7% on water bills, without considering the impact of communications bills. However, all of these bills are received retrospectively, long after the householder can have an impact on controlling or managing them through modifying their behaviour. This proposal considers six key factors including elements of human behaviour that influence the impact on bills: most utilities meters are installed in inconvenient places and consumption displayed in scientific units; typical awareness of consumption is based on retrospective bills; households have limited access to real, live and intelligent personal energy management and cost information; the influence of non-bill payers on energy consumption is often ignored e.g. children and adolescents in the household; awareness of digital energy management such as wireless monitors is low; and limited education is available on sustainable low carbon choices that fit with personal lifestyle preferences. This proposal aims to develop a multidimensional and interdisciplinary intelligent interactive digital system to address these issues in four stages: developing an Integrated smart Meters and internet enabling Sensors System (IMSS); generating a Virtual Energy World Game (VEWG); undertaking a practical trial of IMSS and VEWG and investigating the households' reactions and feedback; and developing intelligent low carbon lifestyles education packages. The IMSS will be able to collect real gas, electricity and water consumption data inside the building envelop and integrate with temperature, humidity and CO2 sensors. It will increase the awareness of individual households to the impacts associated with their behaviour and personal environments through the provision of real-time energy consumption data. This system will put the householder at the centre of the lifestyle decision-making process as they will have the capability to easily control and adjust their energy consumption according to their physical, psychological and financial needs. The data collected by IMSS can be transferred into the VEWG. This VEWG offers two visualisation systems for occupants to assess cost impacts a) a virtual simulation environment in the form of a visualization dashboard based on known energy and household data that intelligently suggests and quantifies optimal activities to manage consumption and bills, and b) a virtual game element to represent and target the energy consumption opportunities within houses. The VEWG will be designed to provide easy-to-use features and active advice so that the user can store, analyse and communicate via different social networking platforms in running their home. Then a low carbon education package will be developed and will be delivered through various methods, face-to-face courses, training/workshops. This project will present the householder with real-time energy consumption data; improve their ability to intelligently manage energy consumption and subsequent bills; and offer multiform education packages for various age groups to establish low carbon lifestyles.

Planned Impact

The project is timely as the proposed research will develop an intelligent digital household network to transform domestic energy consumption and low carbon lifestyles by involving household members. This research addresses the three government priorities to reduce energy demand, meet CO2 reduction targets and reduce the risk of fossil fuel energy prices and imported energy. This network will introduce household members to the concept of low carbon lifestyles, educate on intelligent energy management skills, and increase capacity to directly control energy consumption and reduce bills. By reducing domestic reliance on fossil fuels, it offers protection from price risks and fuel poverty, as well as providing a more affordable and comfortable domestic environments. The IMSS and VEWG combine low carbon techniques such as smart meters and enabled sensors, intelligent energy management methods and information communication technologies. Therefore the research will benefit individuals and households, national resource and environmental management, related industries, the researchers and their institutions, and also contribute to the UK Government's Low Carbon Transition Plan.

Results of the project will be published in relevant journals and will be disseminated at conferences and exhibitions (e.g. CIBSE and ASHARE) to increase awareness and exploit the potential applications of the proposed intelligent digital household network. Project information will be published on Coventry University's website. Discussions will be held with the industrial collaborators, government agencies and household members to ensure the outcomes of the project address the users' needs as well as national energy and environment targets. A demonstration rig will be set up and every year workshops will be held at Coventry University's BREEAM Excellent Engineering and Computing Building to display and disseminate the research results to stakeholders, visitors, government, other researchers, utilities companies and equipment manufacturers. The final year workshop will be held at the Eco-Build Event in London to publicise the research findings and demonstrate the digital household network to UK professionals, residents and industries. Educational resources will be produced and disseminated to schools and on-line.
 
Description Through this project, we have developed an 'Energy Dashboard' app connected with real-time energy consumption data via meters and sensors, which has made the 19 trial households more aware of where and when they are using energy, and the impact of their behaviours on the indoor environmental conditions. At the same time, a serious game is under development which will increase householders' understanding of what changes they could make to their everyday behaviour, and the impacts on their energy consumption and thermal environment. The app was designed through workshops with the social housing provider and, as a result of feedback from technical evaluation sessions and also interviews with householders, version 2 is ready for release.
Exploitation Route The households taking part in the trial will be able to directly apply the findings of the project to their own lives and routines. The property owner Orbit Group will be able to apply the findings more widely in order to better understand the decisions being made by their customers, and the issues they face. The utility supplier E.ON will have insights from this research that they can take back to their own organisation and larger trials.
Sectors Education,Energy,Environment

URL http://www.coventry.ac.uk/smarterhouseholds
 
Description This research will directly impact on the end users, the property owner Orbit House Group and also the utility supplier, EON. As the 3D dashboard will be use by the end users and the smart meter and sensors will be installed into Orbit House Group.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Education,Energy,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Contribution towards Smarter Households' exhibit at the Coventry Mysteries Festival
Amount £1,500 (GBP)
Organisation Arts Council England 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2013 
End 05/2013
 
Description Coventry University Undergraduate Research Experience (CUURE) Scheme 2016
Amount £2,000 (GBP)
Organisation Coventry University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2016 
End 08/2016
 
Description Faculty contribution towards Coventry Mysteries Festival
Amount £1,500 (GBP)
Organisation Coventry University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2013 
End 05/2013
 
Description Festival of Social Science
Amount £730 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2016 
End 11/2016
 
Description Transforming Energy Demand through Digital Innovation (TEDDINET)
Amount £5,150 (GBP)
Organisation University of Edinburgh 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2015 
End 06/2015
 
Title Survey of energy smart metering data collection and storage 
Description A systematic review resulted in a database of energy monitoring, data transfer and storage methods currently or previously used. Details from 28 research projects and companies are listed, but work continues. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact On completion, the database will be shared with TEDDINET colleagues and impacts may arise. 
 
Description Smarter Households 
Organisation Aston University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I lead the project, contribute expertise and manage the involvement of each partner, while my research team works with each partner to progress the project and develop research outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Orbit Housing Group have provided support in designing the research plan and will continue to support the recruitment and management of participants. E.ON Technologies Ltd have advised on equipment selection and will continue to advise procurement. The academic partners are Co-investigators and continue supervise the research assistants as well as writing publications. Expertise on energy monitoring (Portsmouth), serious game development (Aston) and social science aspects (Birmingham and Edinburgh) is contributed.
Impact Liu S (January, 2013) Living the Low Life, Utility Week Yang B ( ) Low carbon community through smart meters: Status, Issues, Benefits and Challenges, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews Yang B ( ) Smart grid community with high population density: a case study of intelligent electricity project in Chongqing, Journal of Technology Analysis Strategic Management Shikder S et al. (August, 2013) Feasibility investigation of smart meters in delivering low carbon community, 12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy technologies (SET-2013), 26-29th August, 2013, Hong Kong Bakaoukas A (August, 2014) Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method for power components estimation in power meters, WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies 60 1743-3517 Bakaoukas A et al. ( ) Serious Games as Mediums of Connecting Users with Their Energy Consumption: A Survey of Approaches and Methodologies, International Journal of Energy Research (under review) (Serious Games, Geography, Engineering) Wood G et al. (2014) Serious games for energy social science research, Journal of Technology Analysis & Strategic Management (forthcoming Nov 2014) (Engineering, Serious Games, Geography)
Start Year 2013
 
Description Smarter Households 
Organisation E ON
Department E ON Technologies
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I lead the project, contribute expertise and manage the involvement of each partner, while my research team works with each partner to progress the project and develop research outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Orbit Housing Group have provided support in designing the research plan and will continue to support the recruitment and management of participants. E.ON Technologies Ltd have advised on equipment selection and will continue to advise procurement. The academic partners are Co-investigators and continue supervise the research assistants as well as writing publications. Expertise on energy monitoring (Portsmouth), serious game development (Aston) and social science aspects (Birmingham and Edinburgh) is contributed.
Impact Liu S (January, 2013) Living the Low Life, Utility Week Yang B ( ) Low carbon community through smart meters: Status, Issues, Benefits and Challenges, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews Yang B ( ) Smart grid community with high population density: a case study of intelligent electricity project in Chongqing, Journal of Technology Analysis Strategic Management Shikder S et al. (August, 2013) Feasibility investigation of smart meters in delivering low carbon community, 12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy technologies (SET-2013), 26-29th August, 2013, Hong Kong Bakaoukas A (August, 2014) Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method for power components estimation in power meters, WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies 60 1743-3517 Bakaoukas A et al. ( ) Serious Games as Mediums of Connecting Users with Their Energy Consumption: A Survey of Approaches and Methodologies, International Journal of Energy Research (under review) (Serious Games, Geography, Engineering) Wood G et al. (2014) Serious games for energy social science research, Journal of Technology Analysis & Strategic Management (forthcoming Nov 2014) (Engineering, Serious Games, Geography)
Start Year 2013
 
Description Smarter Households 
Organisation Orbit Housing Group
Department Sustainable Investment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I lead the project, contribute expertise and manage the involvement of each partner, while my research team works with each partner to progress the project and develop research outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Orbit Housing Group have provided support in designing the research plan and will continue to support the recruitment and management of participants. E.ON Technologies Ltd have advised on equipment selection and will continue to advise procurement. The academic partners are Co-investigators and continue supervise the research assistants as well as writing publications. Expertise on energy monitoring (Portsmouth), serious game development (Aston) and social science aspects (Birmingham and Edinburgh) is contributed.
Impact Liu S (January, 2013) Living the Low Life, Utility Week Yang B ( ) Low carbon community through smart meters: Status, Issues, Benefits and Challenges, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews Yang B ( ) Smart grid community with high population density: a case study of intelligent electricity project in Chongqing, Journal of Technology Analysis Strategic Management Shikder S et al. (August, 2013) Feasibility investigation of smart meters in delivering low carbon community, 12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy technologies (SET-2013), 26-29th August, 2013, Hong Kong Bakaoukas A (August, 2014) Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method for power components estimation in power meters, WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies 60 1743-3517 Bakaoukas A et al. ( ) Serious Games as Mediums of Connecting Users with Their Energy Consumption: A Survey of Approaches and Methodologies, International Journal of Energy Research (under review) (Serious Games, Geography, Engineering) Wood G et al. (2014) Serious games for energy social science research, Journal of Technology Analysis & Strategic Management (forthcoming Nov 2014) (Engineering, Serious Games, Geography)
Start Year 2013
 
Description Smarter Households 
Organisation University of Birmingham
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I lead the project, contribute expertise and manage the involvement of each partner, while my research team works with each partner to progress the project and develop research outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Orbit Housing Group have provided support in designing the research plan and will continue to support the recruitment and management of participants. E.ON Technologies Ltd have advised on equipment selection and will continue to advise procurement. The academic partners are Co-investigators and continue supervise the research assistants as well as writing publications. Expertise on energy monitoring (Portsmouth), serious game development (Aston) and social science aspects (Birmingham and Edinburgh) is contributed.
Impact Liu S (January, 2013) Living the Low Life, Utility Week Yang B ( ) Low carbon community through smart meters: Status, Issues, Benefits and Challenges, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews Yang B ( ) Smart grid community with high population density: a case study of intelligent electricity project in Chongqing, Journal of Technology Analysis Strategic Management Shikder S et al. (August, 2013) Feasibility investigation of smart meters in delivering low carbon community, 12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy technologies (SET-2013), 26-29th August, 2013, Hong Kong Bakaoukas A (August, 2014) Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method for power components estimation in power meters, WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies 60 1743-3517 Bakaoukas A et al. ( ) Serious Games as Mediums of Connecting Users with Their Energy Consumption: A Survey of Approaches and Methodologies, International Journal of Energy Research (under review) (Serious Games, Geography, Engineering) Wood G et al. (2014) Serious games for energy social science research, Journal of Technology Analysis & Strategic Management (forthcoming Nov 2014) (Engineering, Serious Games, Geography)
Start Year 2013
 
Description Smarter Households 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I lead the project, contribute expertise and manage the involvement of each partner, while my research team works with each partner to progress the project and develop research outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Orbit Housing Group have provided support in designing the research plan and will continue to support the recruitment and management of participants. E.ON Technologies Ltd have advised on equipment selection and will continue to advise procurement. The academic partners are Co-investigators and continue supervise the research assistants as well as writing publications. Expertise on energy monitoring (Portsmouth), serious game development (Aston) and social science aspects (Birmingham and Edinburgh) is contributed.
Impact Liu S (January, 2013) Living the Low Life, Utility Week Yang B ( ) Low carbon community through smart meters: Status, Issues, Benefits and Challenges, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews Yang B ( ) Smart grid community with high population density: a case study of intelligent electricity project in Chongqing, Journal of Technology Analysis Strategic Management Shikder S et al. (August, 2013) Feasibility investigation of smart meters in delivering low carbon community, 12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy technologies (SET-2013), 26-29th August, 2013, Hong Kong Bakaoukas A (August, 2014) Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method for power components estimation in power meters, WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies 60 1743-3517 Bakaoukas A et al. ( ) Serious Games as Mediums of Connecting Users with Their Energy Consumption: A Survey of Approaches and Methodologies, International Journal of Energy Research (under review) (Serious Games, Geography, Engineering) Wood G et al. (2014) Serious games for energy social science research, Journal of Technology Analysis & Strategic Management (forthcoming Nov 2014) (Engineering, Serious Games, Geography)
Start Year 2013
 
Description Smarter Households 
Organisation University of Portsmouth
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I lead the project, contribute expertise and manage the involvement of each partner, while my research team works with each partner to progress the project and develop research outputs.
Collaborator Contribution Orbit Housing Group have provided support in designing the research plan and will continue to support the recruitment and management of participants. E.ON Technologies Ltd have advised on equipment selection and will continue to advise procurement. The academic partners are Co-investigators and continue supervise the research assistants as well as writing publications. Expertise on energy monitoring (Portsmouth), serious game development (Aston) and social science aspects (Birmingham and Edinburgh) is contributed.
Impact Liu S (January, 2013) Living the Low Life, Utility Week Yang B ( ) Low carbon community through smart meters: Status, Issues, Benefits and Challenges, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews Yang B ( ) Smart grid community with high population density: a case study of intelligent electricity project in Chongqing, Journal of Technology Analysis Strategic Management Shikder S et al. (August, 2013) Feasibility investigation of smart meters in delivering low carbon community, 12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy technologies (SET-2013), 26-29th August, 2013, Hong Kong Bakaoukas A (August, 2014) Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) method for power components estimation in power meters, WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies 60 1743-3517 Bakaoukas A et al. ( ) Serious Games as Mediums of Connecting Users with Their Energy Consumption: A Survey of Approaches and Methodologies, International Journal of Energy Research (under review) (Serious Games, Geography, Engineering) Wood G et al. (2014) Serious games for energy social science research, Journal of Technology Analysis & Strategic Management (forthcoming Nov 2014) (Engineering, Serious Games, Geography)
Start Year 2013
 
Title 3 D Dashboard for live data streaming to end users 
Description 3 D Dashboard provide graphical user interface for end users to see live data coming from utility, indoor climate (Temperature, humidity, and Carbon di oxide levels) and ambient environment. It also provide the end user usages report weekly, monthly or user chosen time period. End user can directly see the information coming through anywhere if they are connected to the internet. It also provide advice/guidelines how they can improve indoor living conditions and reduce energy bills. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The Dashboard was designed for those participating in the trials. These households coming from Orbit housing one of the project partners. Several workshops and interviews with end users concluded that the roll out of Dashboard was really engaging and greatly benefitted the householders. They are well informed to make decisions on the energy and indoor environment issues around them. 
 
Description A talk or presentation - A talk or presentation - A talk or presentation - Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households, 27/11/2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact have been invited for a talk about the smarter household project, at the University of Hull
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A talk or presentation - A talk or presentation - Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households, 17/052017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited lecture by the Faculty of Architecture, Kasetsart University, Thailand, May, 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description A talk or presentation - Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households, 17/09/2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact she talk about the Smart household project, exchange the ideas with the postgraduate student and researchers in the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Coventry Mysteries Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A presentation and role play around energy use, smart metering and gaming over four days sparked discussions about using these kinds of technologies in households and raised the profile of our project in the region. The event was promoted by New Scientist and Coventry Telegraph and involved seven members of the team, including engineers, games developers and geographers from two institutions.

We made some revisions to the project plan as a result of feedback on energy games at the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households 09.09.2016, Southwest University of Science and Technology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A talk to staff, students and interested local residents, communicating the motivations behind Smarter Households and early findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households 1.10.2017 Wuhan University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A talk to staff, students and interested local residents, communicating the motivations behind Smarter Households and early findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households 24.9.16 Sichuan University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A talk to staff, students and interested local residents, communicating the motivations behind Smarter Households and early findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households 25.9.16 Chonqqing University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A talk to staff, students and interested local residents, communicating the motivations behind Smarter Households and early findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households 26.09.2015 Southwest Jiatong University 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A talk to staff, students and interested local residents, communicating the motivations behind Smarter Households and early findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Creating customer behaviour change through Smarter Households 5.09.2015 Beijing Institute of Technology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A talk to staff, students and interested local residents, communicating the motivations behind Smarter Households and early findings
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Smart energy: Will we have warmer and healthier homes? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The concept of this exhibit (held at the entrance to a regional science museum) was to display early research findings and highlight the crucial role of social science in research that is often technical. Data from the test house across the course of a day was displayed in an eye-catching way on a large screen, annotated by quotations from interviewees about their daily routine and concerns. A demonstration version of the app developed in the projects was also on display. Visitors used the available screens,engaged in discussion with the researchers on hand, and filled in a questionnaire. The event was funded by the ESRC under their Festival of Social Science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Teddinet workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation to TEDDINET colleagues on research plans and early stages. Sparked discussion and questions around the use of serious games in energy monitoring.

Feedback from the audience influenced in-team discussions about the design of the game and dashboard for the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014