Tags: research, qualitative, quantitative, sensors, modelling
Members: UK Government, BP, Shell, EDF, EON, Caterpillar, Rolls Royce and Hitachi (as an associate)
We use 80% of our energy at home for heating and hot water. This produces 20% of our carbon emissions. We need to give people the heat they want without the carbon. So, back in 2013, we built a team of leading academics and consultants to understand how people use heat at home.
We ran countless studies. The most illuminating involved talking to thirty households four times over two winters. We used sensors to track everything we could (temperature, humidity, occupancy, light levels, CO2, doors and windows). We discussed the data with residents to discover how their lives caused the patterns we saw. Then we built a model to relate their behaviour to the energy it used.
We found people use energy in diverse ways as they held very different priorities. They struggled to control how much time or effort they spent. Most put up with problems like damp, drafts and overheating. This means that we could design low carbon heating solutions that are as good as, or even better, than what we have.
The insights have influenced the design of numerous energy policies, products and services.