Coming up in December and January

The next step is for us to interview each household about how energy is used during their everyday routine, and how they have found using the Energy Dashboard app so far. We’re currently booking interviews prior to Christmas and will soon be booking in January dates. The person in the household who signed up for the project will need to take part, but we’re very happy for other family members to join!

Remember that you’ll receive a £30 voucher to thank you for your time.

In the new year, we’ll be in touch about our Energy Challenges. These are nothing to worry about but if you complete them all, you’ll receive a further £30 in vouchers (so well worth taking part!)


tablet sofa

App activated for all trial households

We are pleased to say that every household in our trial now has access to the Energy Dashboard app on their tablet. We really hope you find it useful!

Many of you have been in touch already, but please continue to contact us with any problems you encounter so that we can get the app to full functionality for everyone as soon as possible.

There are some ongoing issues which we are aware of, and some additional features we have added which those households who have had access to their Dashboard since early or mid-November may not be aware of. You can read more in our Frequently Asked Questions post.


2D dashboard

Smart Energy – quiz winner announced!

Thank you to all who came along to our exhibit ‘Smart Energy: will we have warmer and healthier homes?’ on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th November. We’re pleased to announce the winner of our quiz prize!

If the first part of your code is urofab, you are our winner!

Send an email to and include the second part of your code to confirm your identity.

Festival of Social science- tablets


ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016

Smart energy: will we have warmer and healthier homes?

The UK smart meter roll-out is in progress, but how can we make sure households, not just energy companies, reap the benefits?

The Smarter Households project will be showcasing their ongoing work at Millennium Point, Birmingham on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th November, as part of the 2016 ESRC Festival of Social Science.

Come along to see test house data on electricity and gas usage and the indoor environment in a home across the course of a day, annotated by real quotations from our test house interviewees about their daily routines and their energy related concerns.

You will also be able to find out more about the importance of a warm and healthy indoor environment by test driving the project’s ‘Energy Dashboard’ app, showing real-time data from their test house, and explore the 3D ‘Hints & Tips House’ for ideas of how to save energy at home, whilst keeping the indoor environment healthy.

Members of the research team will be on hand to talk about the technology and answer any questions. Lastly, everyone is welcome to try the energy quiz, to be in with a chance of winning a £25 Amazon voucher!

The exhibit is open from 10am- 4pm on the 5th and 6th November, at the entrance to the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum (2nd floor, Millennium Point, Curzon Street, Birmingham B4 7XG).


The ESRC Festival of Social Science is a week-long celebration of the social sciences and social science research, taking place from 5-12 November across the UK, with free to attend events suitable for all ages and levels of interest. Click here for more information about other events in the region and nationally.

Coming up in August and September

Using a tablet

In August we’ll be setting up the Energy Dashboard app for each of the houses we have already installed equipment in. We’ll then be delivering a tablet to each of these properties so that they can view their energy use and indoor environment data.


From mid August to early September we will be installing in the remainder of our properties in Rugby and Coventry, as well as Leamington Spa and Warwick.

Stratford-upon-Avon and Hinckley homes will have installation visits in mid to late September.

We realise that our households may have holidays and other commitments, so this is just a guideline as to when you can expect to hear from us. Please get in touch if you have any queries, or if you need to request an earlier or later installation.


In-home interviews

If you are a participant in the Smarter Households trial, you’ll know that you’ll be taking part in two interviews in your home. The first will be carried out in Winter 2016/17 (depending on when your installation happens). However, these are nothing to worry about!



Why  am I being interviewed?

Interviews help us to understand a bit more about you and your household, so we can see the context in which our technology is being used.

What will happen?

One or two members of our team will come to your home for about 90 minutes to chat to you.

What will we talk about?

We’ll ask a few questions about your daily or weekly routine, and the things you do to stay comfortable at home. We’ll also talk about technology in the home (including the equipment we’ve installed). There shouldn’t be any personal or sensitive questions, but if there are any questions you don’t wish to answer, just let us know.

Do I need to prepare in any way?

No. Unless we ask you to, you don’t need to find out any information or do anything differently to normal!

Will the interview be audio recorded?

Yes, we’ll record the interview, just to help us remember what you have said.


If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Installation begins!

Gas installation


In July we have started installing equipment in some of the houses we recruited last winter.

This has involved attaching a clamp meter to the live cable from the electricity meter to the house, and affixing a reader to the gas meter. The technology we are using is made by Invisible Systems and Loop Energy. As we are also monitoring indoor environmental conditions, we are fixing a 3-in-1 sensor in the living room and kitchen of each trial home. These sensors measure temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide.

Data is flowing into our server at Coventry University, and we are finalising the ‘Energy Dashboard’ app for each household. In August we will be delivering a tablet to each of these first homes for them to see their electricity and gas consumption over the course of the day, week and month.

Don’t worry if you haven’t yet had a call or email from us to arrange your installation. We’re doing this in stages, and we’ll be in touch very soon.

Profile: Shuli Liu

Each newsletter, we’ll introduce you to a different member of the team. First up is Shuli, the project lead.

Professor Shuli Liu

Name: Shuli Liu

Specialist area: 

Low carbon building technology, renewable energy applications for buildings, Building retrofit/energy performance, human behaviours in buildings (energy)

Where do you work? 

The School of Energy, Construction and Environment at Coventry University

How did you get the idea for Smarter Households?

I was working on a 3 year building retrofit project with Orbit Housing Group when I noticed that many people don’t know much about their home’s energy performance, or the new technologies that might have been installed in their property. There is a gap between householders and new technologies, and as the energy smart metering scheme is rolled out by the UK government, this gap has been noticed again: these schemes benefit utility suppliers rather than end users. This is the reason the Smarter Households project was developed, as it is up to end users to live a low carbon lifestyle, not utility suppliers. Customers are the core driver and also the key to achieving energy reduction targets.

What excites you most about the project?

This project will focus on end users and also the next generation through new communication technologies- Play, Learn and Save are the central messages. Our new 3D dashboard, serious game, and also the energy engagement aspects are the novel parts of the project, and we hope to bring to people a new view of energy technology: we are not just boring engineers, we can be fun as well!

‘Energy Dashboard’ workshops

This Spring we have been taking our ‘Energy Dashboard’ out for testing! Thank you to staff at Orbit Heart of England, and students at Coventry University and Aston Business School who have given us invaluable feedback and some great suggestions.

We’ll be undertaking large scale testing in Autumn 2016 with students from several universities, to help us make usability and technical improvements.

From August, the app will also be rolled out in 20 Orbit homes in Warwickshire and Leicestershire for longer term testing with real time data.

Orbit groupCU group