Over 2,000 UK households have volunteered to join Energy Systems Catapult’s Living Lab.
According to a statement, the Living Lab provides a real-world test environment, where innovators can design, market-test and launch energy products, services and business models.
Energy Systems Catapult has welcomed volunteer households, known as ‘Labbers’, from a variety of property types across the UK and has 1,358 digitally connected homes in England, 549 in Scotland, 110 in Wales, and 22 in Northern Ireland.
Homes are connected by a digital integration platform to the Catapult’s trial curators, ensuring the Living Lab is digitally open, interoperable, and scalable. This allows innovations to be tested in real-world conditions alongside those existing mainstream technologies that households are slowing acquiring, such as smart meters and heating controllers.
Amp X has trialled its digital energy assistant ‘ALICE’ in 60 Living Lab homes to better understand how homes can reduce their energy costs and carbon intensity.
Dr Irene Di Martino, head of Amp X, said: “Consumer engagement is a key barrier to demand–response as a scalable non–wire alternative. Energy Systems Catapult’s analysis helped us validate what features of our solution work best for different user–types and properties to help sell the benefits to the consumer market.”
UK Power Networks, as part of the Neighbourhood Green Project, made use of WESA to monitor energy use by homes with low carbon heating technologies such as heat pumps and panel heaters. Engineers compared real-life data from 60 Living Lab homes with a model of a ‘one in 20’ freezing winter.
Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UK Power Networks, added: “It’s our job to make sure that our customers are able to connect low carbon heating easily and quickly, whenever they choose to do so. Neighbourhood Green is helping us gain valuable insight so we can plan ahead to make sure they have that choice.”
Becky Sweeney, business leader – homes at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “A new idea or whizzy bit of kit may work well in a test lab, but we want to know if it really makes a difference -to real people, with real demands on their time, and real budgets.
“Our pioneering Living Lab is helping the UK’s clean tech innovators to unleash their creativity and advance technologies that place our journey to Net Zero at their heart, without losing sight of the needs of the end-consumer.
“With over 2,000 digitally connected homes – and more and more households showing their interest every day, there is no better place for clean tech innovators to test, trial, and develop their products and services in a real-world environment.”