Carbon targets are fast approaching, with many governments now committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To reach these goals we need to be able to make use of renewable energy sources (like wind and solar) by balancing supply with demand.
Smart technologies can help by increasing demand when supplies are high or decreasing demand when supplies are low. This is called Demand-Side Response (DSR).
Businesses will need to play their role in helping cut emissions, however their main priority is their business. They won’t change their energy management if they think it will have a negative impact on their business or the comfort levels of their staff and customers.
To find out how to help businesses manage their energy use to cut their carbon emissions, we first needed to know how they currently managed their energy and why. To find out, we interviewed businesses of different sizes in the UK and Canada.
We worked with Q Energy , a digital energy services company in the UK who have developed a proposition for an energy management system which also allows DSR. Their tool aims to deliver energy, cost and carbon savings to businesses.
We combined our understanding of what a business needs from energy management with some user testing of Q Energy’s tool and proposition. From this we were able to understand what an energy management solution needs to do to help businesses meet their needs, and how DSR could be part of this solution.
Through in-depth interviews and user testing we were able to understand:
To build a good solution it is key to understand what businesses are doing with energy management and what jobs they are trying to get done. We found there were four key Jobs Energy Managers are trying to achieve.
We explored how well Q Energy’s tool met Energy Manager’s needs and determined what it was missing. This showed us what tools Energy Managers need to help them get their jobs done more easily.
By testing Q Energy’s proposition, we were able to understand how Energy Managers’ current perception of DSR influences their uptake and engagement in DSR. From this we identified what an energy management service needs to do to help make a proposition acceptable.
We created three, short and insightful papers based on our findings!
We now know what businesses need from energy management and how DSR services could engage people more effectively.
Energy service companies like Qbots can use these findings to better understand their customers’ needs and improve the design of their products or services so that they deliver more value.
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