Title: DEFACTO: Digital Energy Feedback and Control Technology Optimisation
PI: Prof Lomas, Loughborough University
Fund: £1.5m BuildTEDDI
Project lifespan: Nov 2012 to Oct 2017
Aims: As the cost of energy rises, there is a growing interest in using digital technology (DT) to monitor and control home energy use. Many manufacturers, such as Secure (study partner), are making smart devices to help us control how and when we use energy. These vary from the aesthetically simple, but internally complex thermostats and timers, to systems that will enable us to control every radiator in our homes, and which allow this operation from our smart phones.
However, we currently have very little idea of how much energy these DT devices and systems might save, if any, and in which households they might work best. The main aim of this project is to find out how much energy DT can save and for how long the savings endure.
This is an area that has not been studied before at the scale, or over the time period we envisage. Trials will be conducted over a five year period in around 300 homes, divided into three groups. One group will remain a control monitored only group and two other groups will have a different digital heating control system installed.
The study will shed light on such questions as: Can the provision of feedback and control be just too complicated for householders to benefit? Might it lead to higher energy use in some households? Would more simple devices work better in some households? How much additional energy saving do smart devices generate? Can the DT systems be improved and if so how?
The project will provide answers to these and other questions and so be of enormous benefit to DT device and systems manufacturers, national and local government officials and of course, UK householders themselves, giving them confidence to invest in effective control of their energy bills.
Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
Energy Technologies Institute
Horstmann (Secure Controls (UK) Ltd)
National Energy Services