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METER – insights into the timing and flexibility of electricity usage

METER is a national research project to understand what we use electricity for. And anyone can take part.

meter

This study asks thousands of UK households to submit a one day record of their activities. During this day their electricity use is also measured minute by minute.

The combination of activity and electricity data can gives valuable insights into the timing and flexibility of electricity. METER data is intended to help with the development of new approaches to reduce demand at critical times, while avoiding inconvenience for users. METER will test different forms of incentives and interventions to establish an evidence base for load shifting against a statistically robust baseline.

This becomes especially important when trying to make better use of variable renewable sources of electricity. By identifying a load shifting potential of only 1kW (half the power of a washing machine) in 1% of UK households, the national cost saving could easily exceed a quarter of a billion pounds.

The scale of the project is made possible by the innovative use of smart phones.

Here is an example of my (Peter Bates) household’s energy usage on 21/22 September 2016. (Note we do have Solar PV and did not use the washing machine that day). You can clearly see the peak usage during the cooking of the evening meal.

meter-energy-usage-pjb

More information on the METER Project and take part in the research.

emeters

Get the latest METER Project newsletter Autumn 2016

Better mortgages could be offered to energy efficient homebuyers

Homebuyers across the EU could be offered better borrowing rates on mortgages in return for purchasing more energy efficient homes or committing to implement energy saving work within properties as part of a “ground-breaking” new project.

The European Energy Efficiency Mortgage initiative is aiming to create a standardised “energy efficient mortgage” based on preferential interest rates for energy efficient homes or additional funds for retrofitting homes at the time of purchase.

The scheme has been cited as the first ever collaboration between groups of major banks, mortgage lenders, businesses and organisations from the building and energy industries for the purpose of addressing the concept of energy efficient mortgages, with the project having been launched by a consortium led by the European Mortgage Federation (EMF) and the European Covered Bond Council (ECBC).

The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) claims that creating a private bank financing mechanism to encourage improvements in the energy efficiency of households is a key means of helping the EU to meet its energy saving target of 20 per cent by 2020 and to deliver on the ambition of the Paris Agreement reached at COP21 last December.

Read the full article in Energyzine

Comment: This seems a great idea, which could be adopted in the UK. Perhaps it could be incorporated into the Bonfield Review or be one of the announcements by the new Department for
Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy – when it finally decides what it will do to improve home energy efficiency in the home – thus revitalising a new version of the Green Deal initiative.

This is a great “carrot” for those selling and buying at house. And finally, will make the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating worth something that can be promoted by Estate Agencies,

Research finds that SuperHomes use 40% less energy

Detailed research into the energy use of SuperHomes reveals that, on average, they are using 40% less energy per square metre per year than the average UK home. SuperHomes are, therefore, much cheaper to run than their unrefurbished neighbours.

Chester SuperHome
Chester SuperHome. Whilst bills are similar to the owner’s previous home, that home was half the size!

The most energy efficient home in the study, whilst offering improved comfort, uses a staggering 86% less energy than the average home.

One of the participants in this research, Simon Brown, is no stranger to the benefits of retrofit. He says “After the first year, we were pleasantly surprised to find our total gas and electricity bill was slightly less than in our previous home, which was half the size.”

So, whilst low-carbon and low-energy don’t necessarily go hand in hand, this study confirms that SuperHomes excel in both respects.

The research report shows that an average SuperHome:

  • Is over 40% more energy-efficient than the average UK home in its energy use per square metre per year.
  • Consumes about 19% less total energy than the average UK home each year, despite having a larger than average floor area and a higher than average occupancy, and being older than an average house building.
  • Uses 104kWh of energy per square metre per year, compared with a national average of 177kWh/m2/yr.
  • Consumes a total of 14,722kWh of energy per annum, compared with an average household consumption of 18,100kWh.
  • Achieves an incredible average reduction of 72% in carbon emissions, based on comparisons between pre- and post-retrofit emissions

The most energy-efficient SuperHome in the survey (refurbished to the exacting Passivhaus standard) was found to use just 25kWh/m2/yr, an impressive 86% less than the national average.

Gabby Mallett, Director of SuperHomes and Households and Communities at the National Energy Foundation, commented:

“Many people assume that a low-carbon home is also a low-energy one. However, this is not necessarily the case … it’s fantastic to discover that many SuperHomes have not only gone much further than a 60% carbon reduction, but they’ve achieved great results on energy too.”

SuperHomes are older homes refurbished by their owners to deliver a carbon saving of at least 60%. The owners host free open days in September to share the benefits and the challenges of home refurbishment.

Researchers at the National Energy Foundation (NEF) calculated the energy and carbon figures for a representative sample of the existing 205 SuperHomes, by per person per year, and by per square metre of floor space per year. Using the 2012 National Energy Efficiency Data-Framework (NEED) sample, NEF was able to make comparisons between an average SuperHome and the average UK home with the same number of occupants or of the same size.

Read the Energy Efficiency Benchmarks for SuperHomes Report

Orison – pre-launch their plug and play battery Storage

US company Orison have pre-launched their plug and play battery storage – that is due to be shipped globally to pre-paid customers from August 2016 through Kickstarter

Orison

Orison will automatically store energy when utility rates are low, and then use that energy to power your home or business when rates are high. During a power outage, it will automatically power a home or business and make sure none of your stored energy is sent back to the grid. By localizing your energy distribution, you save money and reduce peak demand on the grid.

In the UK his may not be particularly useful at present unless Economy & is used – but over the next few years “Time of Use” incentives are likely to come along with the roll out of smart metering.

Orison utility rates

However, for those that have solar PV already installed, Orison provides  a way to store the solar energy you produce so you can use it whenever you need it.

Orison diagram

The storage devices come as plug and play – in the form of an elegant panel that fits to a wall and

orison panel

in a lamp-stand shape tower.

orison lamp

The likely retail prices are for an 2.2 kWh tower $5580 and $9750 for 11 kWh. A panel will be $4900 for a 8.8 kWh system with expansion panels added to it for an additional cost. It will be shipped globally for an additional cost

More details