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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P032761/1
Title: Smart Energy Research Lab
Principal Investigator: Oreszczyn, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Gorse, Professor C Deng, Professor J Bahaj, Professor AS
Tweed, Professor C Shipworth, Professor D Johnston, Dr D
O'Sullivan, Dr A M Smith, Mr AZP Glew, Professor D
Danezis, Professor G Lomas, Professor K Anderson, Dr B
Goddard, Dr N Lannon, Dr S Cunningham, Mr NJ
Cooper, Dr ACG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Bartlett Sch of Env, Energy & Resources
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 28 August 2017 Ends: 28 August 2023 Value (£): 5,938,853
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency Information & Knowledge Mgmt
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Mar 2017 EPSRC Strategic Equipment Interview March Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The UK is investing £11 billion installing 53 million smart electricity and gas meters in domestic and small non-domestic properties by 2020. The ability to access reliable, high-resolution gas and electricity energy data at a national scale has the potential to revolutionise research into how we use energy in our buildings.

Currently the best available domestic energy data is estimated annual consumption from infrequent and often estimated meter readings by utilities. This data has, over the last five years, been used by researchers and government to help assess the effectiveness of energy efficient technologies and help plan for a low carbon energy system. The introduction of smart meters offers the potential to examine more reliable gas and electricity data collected at least every half hour which offers great opportunities for researchers. It can help develop better methods of disaggregating energy use by appliance; produce more reliable energy labels at lower costs; help identify fuel-poor households; facilitate demand side response to help balance the electricity grid; help identify the most appropriate energy efficiency measures for a property; produce new products and services for consumers; and develop more appropriate policies for government.

One of the strengths of the UK Smart Meter programme is that energy consumers own their own data. This means that nobody, not even utilities, will automatically get access to all smart meter data, and nobody will store everybody's half hourly data. Only if consent is provided by home owners can half hourly data be accessed, and then only via a highly secure gateway. While this appropriately prioritises customers' rights and security, it means that it will be much more difficult for individual researchers to access future energy data.

This proposal is to provide the UK research community with a shared SMART METER RESEARCH PORTAL (SMRP) to access smart meter data (thereby saving considerable time and money) and to establish a world leading research programme using the this data. This research will be facilitated by linking smart meter data to data collected as part of national surveys, field trials, or administrative data within the highly secure UK Data Archive. For example, the UK has an annual English Housing Survey which collects information about the size and theoretical energy efficiency of buildings as well as information about the occupants. Attaching a consent form to this, would allow theoretical energy use to be linked to actual energy use, which in turn would provide the potential to improve energy models such as the National Household Model.

Without a shared portal academics and government would need to build their own mechanism of accessing smart meter data at an estimated cost of £1-2m to meet the security and ethical requirements. This would prevent smaller projects, such as a few hundred house field trail of a new energy efficient technology, from being undertaken. This is because, they would have to install their own meters or read meters manually, making such projects more costly and difficult to recruit participants. In addition, many projects would double the time required for monitoring. Smart meters store data from the previous 13 months, this means that a project assessing the impact of a heating technology does not need to monitor energy use prior to the installation of the new technology. Thereby potentially saving a year of time for many research projects. This means that once the portal has been built and demonstrated to work efficiently via a sample of research projects. The relatively low future annual running costs (£300-400k) can be met by individual research projects being charged a fixed cost for the SMRP service of obtaining, linking and pre-processing data in a secure and ethical way, thereby allowing academics to focus on their research.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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