HOW Much energy do we use at home?

Tags: research, qualitative, sensors, modelling

Client: ETI

Members: UK Government, BP, Shell, EDF, EON, Caterpillar, Rolls Royce and Hitachi (as an associate)

It is sometimes hard to relate the things we do at home to the energy we use. This can create problems for consumers and challenges for designers. There are building energy models which can help with this, but they often make incorrect assumptions about how people use their homes.

We used research and monitoring to understand how and why people use energy at home. Then we used this rich understanding to improve our home energy model. This understanding shed much more light on the challenges people face when using energy at home.

We found from our research that some people spend lots of time changing heating settings to try and save energy, money or carbon. The problem is that they don’t know the effects on cost, energy and carbon of heating their home in different ways, so they can’t decide how best to manage their heating. For example, they may use plug in electric heaters (or even ovens!) instead of central heating, and our modelling showed that this can cost more than using central heating. Others turn heating down in rooms they rarely used, and our model showed that this does not save as much energy as expected (as heat flows in from neighbouring rooms) but did increase the risk of mould. 

We can use our home energy model to help others design better energy policies, products and services. 

The model has been used to explore ways to decarbonise heating in five UK households: Read the full report below. 

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