New CSE projects to research use of smart meter data

18 January 2017

The rollout of domestic smart energy meters and the in-home displays (IHDs) that will accompany them have the potential to transform how people use and understand energy in their homes. But, it’s crucial that this data is presented in a format that is engaging, in order to exploit the opportunities it presents.

This month CSE kicks off two new projects investigating how the data from smart meters can be made more accessible.

The first, Energy Game Changers, is funded by Innovate UK, and we'll be working in partnership with Legendary Games and University of Nottingham to investigate the possibilities of an innovative new idea – gameifying smart meter data. The project will combine live data from sensors placed in the home with smart meter data which can then be accessed through the game interface.

The game will allow users to create an interactive, virtual model of their house. This will help them to visualise how they are using energy in their homes as well as making it easy to interact with this data. The game will contain “missions”, designed by CSE, and based on common energy usage patterns and problems. Users can then complete these missions and see their home’s energy use and environmental conditions change in real time.

The second project, Supporting vulnerable households to benefit from smart meters, will research how vulnerable customers can best be supported to utilise the data they receive through their smart meters. In partnership with British Gas, we'll develop and trial a number of support interventions to gain an understanding of what works best to help vulnerable households adopt the new technology.

The project will take a look at the views, opinions and preferences of the participants involved in the research, as well as collecting data about how effective the interventions have been, to gain a holistic understanding of how vulnerable households can best be supported. The project is being funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Nicky Hodges, CSE’s lead on the project has said: “By testing what works at the smart meter installation appointment and follow-up, this project should help energy providers and others to offer a better service to older and disabled people receiving a smart meter. In turn, these householders will hopefully feel confident to use the information shown on their in-home display to make choices which help them stay warm and comfortable in their home and save money on their energy bills.”

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