An intelligent digital household network to transform low carbon lifestyles

  • Liu, Shuli (PI)
  • Gaterell, Mark (CoI)
  • Petridis, Panagiotis (CoI)
  • Smithson, Elise (CoI)
  • De Freitas, Sara Isabella (CoI)

Project Details


There are three priorities in UK climate and energy policies: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, specifically CO2 by 80%, by 2050; decreasing fossil fuel consumption especially in domestic properties; and decreasing reliance on imported energy . Buildings account for 40% of the total non-transport energy consumption both in UK and EU, therefore a reduction of energy consumption in houses will make a significant contribution in meeting these targets. On average UK residents spend between 2.7~8.4%, and 0.5~3% of their income on gas and electricity bills, and water bills respectively from the poorest to the wealthiest. In addition, around 4 million people are paying more than 10% of their income on energy bills, some households are paying 7% on water bills, without considering the impact of communications bills. However, all of these bills are received retrospectively, long after the householder can have an impact on controlling or managing them through modifying their behaviour. This proposal considers six key factors including elements of human behaviour that influence the impact on bills: most utilities meters are installed in inconvenient places and consumption displayed in scientific units; typical awareness of consumption is based on retrospective bills; households have limited access to real, live and intelligent personal energy management and cost information; the influence of non-bill payers on energy consumption is often ignored e.g. children and adolescents in the household; awareness of digital energy management such as wireless monitors is low; and limited education is available on sustainable low carbon choices that fit with personal lifestyle preferences. This proposal aims to develop a multidimensional and interdisciplinary intelligent interactive digital system to address these issues in four stages: developing an Integrated smart Meters and internet enabling Sensors System (IMSS); generating a Virtual Energy World Game (VEWG); undertaking a practical trial of IMSS and VEWG and investigating the households' reactions and feedback; and developing intelligent low carbon lifestyles education packages. The IMSS will be able to collect real gas, electricity and water consumption data inside the building envelop and integrate with temperature, humidity and CO2 sensors. It will increase the awareness of individual households to the impacts associated with their behaviour and personal environments through the provision of real-time energy consumption data. This system will put the householder at the centre of the lifestyle decision-making process as they will have the capability to easily control and adjust their energy consumption according to their physical, psychological and financial needs. The data collected by IMSS can be transferred into the VEWG. This VEWG offers two visualisation systems for occupants to assess cost impacts a) a virtual simulation environment in the form of a visualization dashboard based on known energy and household data that intelligently suggests and quantifies optimal activities to manage consumption and bills, and b) a virtual game element to represent and target the energy consumption opportunities within houses. The VEWG will be designed to provide easy-to-use features and active advice so that the user can store, analyse and communicate via different social networking platforms in running their home. Then a low carbon education package will be developed and will be delivered through various methods, face-to-face courses, training/workshops. This project will present the householder with real-time energy consumption data; improve their ability to intelligently manage energy consumption and subsequent bills; and offer multiform education packages for various age groups to establish low carbon lifestyles.
Effective start/end date1/09/1430/01/18


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council: £21,327.00