Edinburgh Local

IDEAL energy project

IDEAL (Intelligent Domestic Energy Advice Loop) is a cutting-edge research project investigating how smart technology can help people save energy in the home.

Woman filling kettle

Changing habits and behaviours in the home could be a key factor in reducing UK carbon emissions through reducing demand on gas and electricity supplies.

Recording energy use

A team of computer scientists, building engineers and sociologists from across the University are working together to explore the interaction of energy technologies and householder behaviours. They are developing and evaluating a feedback system that records energy use and other details like room temperature and humidity to provide more intelligent domestic energy advice.

They also believe that this programme will help the increasing numbers of households struggling to pay their energy bills.

Over 200 householders are volunteering and will be the first to use the new IDEAL smart technology developed by experts at the University of Edinburgh.

Get involved

You can still apply to be a volunteer on this exciting project.

Contact Changeworks to register your interest in taking part, providing your name, phone number, email address and the best times to contact you.

Sensors will be installed in volunteers’ homes to record how much gas and electricity is being used, and the temperature and humidity in each room. The system will then provide feedback to householders, via an app, about their energy use to help them understand it better.

Volunteers will get a detailed breakdown of their energy use via the app: how much they’re using, when and what it is costing them. They will also get energy saving advice via the app from experts at the University of Edinburgh, giving them the chance to find out how to save money on their gas and electricity bills.

Contact Changeworks

Volunteer experiences

Helen and Mark, who live in Leith, took part in an earlier trial of the project:

“We had a survey carried out and a palm-sized monitor fitted to the wall in a discreet part of each room. It was straightforward. We soon forgot the sensors were there, and when it was time to take them down, they came off easily and didn’t leave a mark.

“We were surprised by some of the findings,” says Mark. “Our electricity shot up when we had the heat lamps on, so we may invest in different lamps for warmth and UV light. It was really interesting to see what pushed up the cost of our bills.”

We are excited to be working with the University of Edinburgh on this project, exploring the impact of feedback tailored to how people currently use their heating and electricity. Smart technology will allow volunteers to see, in pounds and pence, how much gas and electricity they are using. Project findings will inform how we can use technologies, such as smart meters, to enable households to make changes in how they use gas and electricity to lower their energy use, household bills and impact on the environment.

Drew Murphy, IDEAL project manager from Changeworks

Lear more about IDEAL

IDEAL information leaflet