Project launched to study home energy efficiency

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 15 Feb 2010 20:12
Study will focus on domestic energy use

Home energy management firm PassivSystems is to lead an innovative study into residential energy technologies, launched by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI).

The year-long £1.1 million project will involve trials of distributed energy (DE) systems throughout 2010 and will examine the potential impact and operation of these technologies in households.

The ETI has responsibility for developing the technologies that will help the UK meet its 2050 carbon reduction targets. The organisation believes that DE systems - which aim to reduce CO2 emissions by generating electricity and heat close to the consumer - could reduce UK CO2 emissions associated with heat and power generation by up to 30%.

The PassivSystems-led project will also involve University College London, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and EDF and its primary objective is to evaluate which DE technologies work and how consumers respond to those technologies.

A field trial will begin to better understand the issues and opportunities in using DE technologies, with forensic monitoring taking place into household energy use at a micro-level. Participants will be interviewed before, during and after the trial to aid further understanding of consumer habits and behaviour.

“What works in a lab is not necessarily the same as what works in a home, so a crucial part of this project will be to map DE technologies with what consumers can use and provides them with the required control over energy use,” said Dr Mike Patterson, Business Development Director at PassivSystems. “DE generation can have an enormous impact on household energy use, but we need to establish what works and what doesn’t before a recommendation on significant investment can be made.”

With a full smart meter rollout scheduled for 2020, the initial tests carry particular importance as the UK focuses on how the home can contribute to CO2 reductions and also become part of a broader energy smart grid.

A separate study is also being launched, focusing on energy demand and supply profiles for sites, such as local services, hospitals and business parks and the equipment required.

Dr David Clarke, Chief Executive of the ETI, said: “The ETI distributed energy projects aim to accelerate take-up of affordable low-carbon heat and power delivery at a local level. By supplying both heat and power to end users from a common fuel source, significant improvements in efficiency can be achieved compared to conventional, centralised power generation and separate, local heat generation.”

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