Smart Meter Enabled Thermal Efficiency Ratings (SMETER)
Applying machine learning to improve the accuracy of SAP calculations
Project duration: March 2020 to January 2020
CSE, with support from the University of Bristol, is working on a two year project to create a new tool to estimate the thermal efficiency of a home based on energy consumption data and temperature data.
The project is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Smart Meter Enabled Thermal Efficiency Ratings (SMETER) Innovation Competition.
Many of the policies to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption in homes are based on having an understanding of their energy performance. Currently the main method used by Government to compare and assess the energy performance of homes is the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP)
But there is evidence to suggest that the variable quality of survey data used in SAP calculation adversely impacts the accuracy.
In order to improve accuracy, CSEs SMETER project aims to improve the part of the calculation procedure that estimates the thermal performance of the building envelope - termed the ‘heat transfer coefficient’ or ‘HTC’- by basing the calculation on real, measured data.
At present, the best available method to measure this thermal performance is the co-heating test, but this is costly to carry out and requires the home to be empty for a two-week period, making it unsuitable for widespread use.
CSE is testing the use of machine learning methods to create a methodology that can be deployed less intrusively and more cost-effectively.
A more accurate and dwelling-specific heat transfer coefficient could also have uses outside of policy-making and the SAP calculation process, and CSE are particularly interested in its potential to help identify and support households living in cold homes.
Our methodology is being tested, alongside those of other competition participants, by an assessment team composed of researchers from UCL and the University of Loughborough, including a trial in real homes facilitated by Halton Housing.
CSE will produce a final report for BEIS as the project approaches completion in January 2021. The code and supporting documentation from this project will be made available open source to any interested parties.