Climate change is the greatest long-term challenge facing the world today. It not only poses a threat to the UK's long term economic stability but also to the quality of life of its citizens. Whilst there are many initiatives in place to mitigate climate change and to adapt (both buildings and living practices) to the inevitable climate change resulting from past consumption of fossil fuels, it is generally accepted that real change will only come about if such initiatives are supported by a change in behaviour amongst UK households. Such changes would include a more positive attitude towards low carbon technologies (both at the micro and grid level) and a greater understanding of the potential problems that climate change could pose, especially to vulnerable groups. This proposal will seek to stimulate this change through focussed engagement with older UK community.The factors that influence the uptake of low (or zero) carbon micro-generation technologies are not primarily technological but behavioural. Studies into behaviour change, and in particular the factors that influence it, have identified the importance of social networks and community groupings as trusted advocates was identified as critical to successfully influencing peer behaviour. Further, work by the Energy Savings Trust has identified 10 community segments that respond differently to sustainability interventions. Amongst these segments are: 'the Discerning Elders' / professional couples on the cusp of retirement who have limited financial commitments, are interested in environmental issues, and offer considerable opportunities for behaviour change; and the 'Restful Retired' / elderly couples and widow/widowers who could benefit financially from the savings that could accrue from energy efficiency measure. This project will work with those agencies trusted by the elderly (Age Concern, Heyday, Energy Saving Trust & Friends of the Elderly) to support behaviour change through public engagement focussed on the older UK community. The engagement will be designed to stimulate interest in climate change mitigation and adaptation solutions and engage this community in a public debate over the best way forward for the UK.
National plans for CO2 reduction and security of energy supply depend on very significant and rapid reductions in the building sector. Delivering this transformation will require a raft of effective technology and policy interventions. These in turn will depend on much better knowledge of the present patterns of energy use in the building stock, and the incorporation of this understanding into new predictive models. The project will seek to contribute to developing this knowledge for the national stocks of both domestic and non-domestic buildings (i.e. all buildings other than houses and flats). Greater emphasis will be placed on non-domestic buildings, since here the state of current knowledge is weaker. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is in the process of constructing a National Energy Efficiency Database (NEED) in which information about dwellings and non-domestic premises is being linked to their actual gas and electricity consumption, at the level of individual properties. The present project is intended to run alongside and support the development of NEED. Work is well advanced on a domestic stock database, the Household Energy Efficiency Database (HEED), which currently contains information on some 13 million dwellings, their types and construction, their use of energy, and what energy-saving measures have been installed. HEED will in due course, in effect, be linked into NEED. Work on the non-domestic part of NEED is not so far advanced. In anticipation of the further development of NEED, this project proposes several strands of work. An existing database and model of the non-domestic stock at the level of individual premises, developed by the applicants, will be elaborated and strengthened with the incorporation of new data from a variety of sources. Meanwhile a separate new model will be built, working with aggregated data, to follow trends in energy consumption over recent years and to try to determine the various effects of climate, economic activity, growth in floor area, changes in fuel price, and efficiency improvements. These models operate just with floor areas and rates of energy use per unit of floor area (as will the non-domestic part of NEED). They do not deal with buildings as units, even though the geometry and construction of buildings are important for energy use. The project will explore new methods for relating non-domestic floor areas to buildings and their construction, using information from digital maps, 3D digital models of cities, and photographic databases such as Google StreetView. In a previous EPSRC-funded project the team has already carried out extensive analyses of the HEED database to study current patterns of domestic energy use. The plan in the present project is to build on that work, and to study some new issues. There can be significant differences between the levels of energy savings predicted from different measures by theoretical models, and actual savings as observed from empirical measurements (as in HEED). There are likely to be several causes, including so-called 'rebound' or 'take-back' effects, where the occupants react to energy improvements by for example enjoying higher temperatures, heating more rooms, or using appliances more frequently. Conversely it is possible that householders may reduce their consumption of energy if they have better information about exactly how and where that energy is being used in the home. Such behavioural effects can be observed to an extent through analysis of much more frequent metering data, derived from so-called 'smart meters'. The project proposes to compare data for the same dwellings from smart meters with data from normal 'dumb' meters (as in HEED), in order to try to better understand these feedback phenomena. These can then be allowed for in improved predictive models, which can be used to support the government's programme of refurbishment of the housing stock over the coming decades.
Meeting the challenge of cutting UK greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and ensuring energy security in the face of dwindling oil and gas reserves, requires a radical change in the way energy (and particularly electricity) is generated, distributed and consumed . Central to delivering this change, is the need to support domestic consumers (who have the least visibility regarding their energy use, but who generate approximately 25% of total UK carbon emissions) in both reducing their demand for energy and improving the efficiency with which they use it. This proposal will do both by applying novel artificial intelligence approaches to the development of intelligent agents that will be transformational in empowering domestic consumers to visualise, understand and manage their energy use.These home energy management agents will collect real-time data from smart gas and electricity meters, and simple low cost temperature and occupancy sensor, and they will learn both the thermal characteristics of the building in which they are deployed and the day-to-day behaviour and energy demands of the home's occupants. In the short term, these agents will provide personalised support to householders by (i) visualising, analysing and comparing energy consumption (e.g. providing itemised energy use information, performing energy audits and comparisons across similar homes), by (ii) autonomously modelling and advising householders of the potential impact of various energy saving practices, and by (iii) tracking, providing feedback and motivating progress toward energy and carbon reduction goals. Such agents will go beyond the simple energy displays of today, and will act as persuasive technologies informed by a cognitive model of behaviour change. In the medium term, they will directly interface with network enabled appliances and will actively manage the delivery of heat and the deferral of electrical loads whilst making efficient use of shared and private variable renewable generation. In doing so, they will provide autonomous and intelligent demand management, whilst satisfying the individual householders' preferences regarding comfort, cost and carbon. Finally, in the long term, these agents will integrate with electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV), giving the home's occupants visibility and control of their total energy and carbon use, proactively managing electricity storage within these vehicles, and facilitating the delivery of individual carbon budgets and allowances . In essence the project will enable occupants to make appropriately relevant behaviour decisions on their energy consumption and generation, relating the impacts of these decisions on carbon emissions. Beyond the immediate confines of the home, these agents will also have a profound impact at the macro level. They will be developed with a future outlook to facilitate a smart grid in which electricity is bought and sold through short-term dynamically negotiated contracts with local, community-owned and national energy providers in response to real-time pricing and carbon intensity signals.To achieve the goals outlined above, the project brings together an interdisciplinary team comprising world leading experts in the fields of intelligent agents and multi-agent systems (School of Electronics and Computer Science), renewable energy and energy efficiency in the built environment, and human factors in the design of automated control and feedback systems (Sustainable Energy Research Group and Transportation Research Group in the School of Civil Engineering and the Environment) at the University of Southampton. The home energy management agents will be evaluated and demonstrated within two live deployments: one using an existing test-bed of 9 homes in Havant, and one using 25 homes currently undergoing a social house redevelopment programme in Southampton.
The overall aim of the project is to enable the continued development of community-owned PV by developing viable business models that address the concerns of network operators. The project will work with communities and network operators to develop approaches that will enable subsidy-free solar PV projects that have a neutral or positive impact on network management. The project will: 1. Identify and develop social enterprise models that enable increased deployment of solar PV in grid-constrained areas. 2. Carry out cost-benefit analysis and economic feasibility assessment and develop business models that enable community groups to store, utilise, aggregate and trade solar electricity within localities as well as simply exporting excess energy to the grid. 3. Empower citizens to have greater ownership over their energy supply, through removing key barriers to community PV, democratising energy and recycling profits from energy generation into host communities.
We are compelled to move towards a low carbon future through government directives and legislation necessary to combat climate change. Simultaneously the nation must maintain a secure energy supply. The generation and consumption of energy for space heating and hot water provision in homes is a significant proportion of national energy use. As we reduce the need for space heating through increased efficiency, reduce the volumes that are heated in buildings, and become satisfied with lower internal temperatures, energy consumption for hot water provision will become more significant. The significance of hot water consumption in the future will also increase through pressures on the potable water supply to homes: in the UK water is heated potable (mains) water. The pressure on the nation's water and energy resources will increase as our population grows. Our lifestyles and routines, however, do not always move in the right direction. The introduction of high efficiency condensing combination boilers, which are less wasteful than older boilers, has given access to 'unlimited' hot water supply, rather than consumption moderated by having a finite volume cylinder of water. This has led to the installation of larger shower heads, which use more water and longer showers, and hence the boiler efficiency savings are all but lost by increased consumption. Trends like this are unintended and counter intuitive. Further complicating hot water use in the future, will be: the introduction of new heat generation and storage technologies, which might be all electric; the increasing intermittency of the supply of energy (affecting cost to the consumer); the potential for small-scale generation in the home; as well as the development of new appliances and services. Making decisions about how to provide hot water in the home is important. Poor decisions could mean that we use new technology inefficiently, because it doesn't operate in the way we need to meet our lifestyles. Alternatively, established household routines may need to change, in response to the features of new systems. This too could have undesirable, and unintended effects, such as increasing both water and energy consumption. This project aims to understand what the likely future for hot water production in family homes looks like now, and as we transition to a new future. The HOTHOUSE project will consider such matters as new technology, appliances, hygiene routines (bathing and cleaning), energy efficiency, etc. The research will: * Develop future scenarios that describe these possible futures; * Use numerical modelling to understand how the new technologies will perform in the home of the future; and, * Evaluate the potential 'stresses' that might become acute as we try to reconcile our need for hot water and the pressures on supply. The project is very timely and is supported by a range of organisations and businesses: EON (global energy provider); ETi (renovating smart heating systems for the UK); EST (energy saving advice for the consumer); PS Sustainability (design and build new low carbon homes); Bentley (a global modelling and simulation tools developer); BRE (a national centre for building an energy research); and Forum for the Future (Promotes sustainable thinking in organisations). The work should generate new insights, data and modelling tools that will help many sectors of society from central government, through house builders and home energy equipment manufacturers, to the public that own or manage homes.