Technology touches every part of our lives and it’s transforming how we live – so it’s no surprise that the way we consume energy in our homes is also changing with developments in new technology. While some of us still have the traditional energy meters hidden away in a cupboard under the stairs, the new smart meters, which are set to be rolled out by 2020, are revolutionising our relationship with energy by providing greater insight and control over household energy consumption and bills.
British Gas is leading the way in bringing this technology to homes, having already installed one million smart meters in homes across the country1. And to understand the experience of households newly equipped with smart meters and smart energy monitors, we've partnered with research agency, The FuturesCompany, to create the first national Smart Meter Challenge.
So what is the Smart Meter Challenge?
During a six week period 15 homes will participate in an experiment across the UK to understand the effect smart meters can have in different environments. They will complete a series of challenges to see how having smart meters and a smart energy monitor changes energy behaviours and usage. Through the challenge we will gain stronger insights into:
- What people do with the information they receive through their smart energy monitor, and whether that gives them more control over energy while improving their energy efficiency
- The impact of a 'digital detox' (switching off all entertainment and communication devices), to see the difference this can make to energy usage and family life
- Attitudes and expectations towards energy use in the context of other activities and spend
Dariusz Bogal and family will be taking part in the challenge
Photograph: British Gas via Jean Goldsmith/Guardian
Learnings gained from the challenge will help us to strengthen the roll-out of smart meters to homes across Britain
Want to know more about the benefits smart meters can bring to your home?
I’m a huge supporter of smart meters so I wanted to share with you some of the many benefits they could have in your home…
Improving insight into energy consumption - Smart meters come with a smart energy monitor that shows just how much energy is being used and how much it costs in near real-time. Greater insights into usage can also be gained through a Smart Energy Report which displays a breakdown of consumption from smart meters against categories such as heating, lighting and appliances, and compares it with other homes in your locality. Energy saving tips based on your usage are also shared.
Saving you money – Knowing how your household consumes energy and its cost can help stimulate more informed action to lower usage, which can potentially reduce your energy bill. For example, we recently conducted research which showed that nine out of ten smart meter customers now take simple steps to reduce energy use in their homes, while nearly two-thirds of those who think they’re saving money by having a smart meter estimated savings of up to £75 a year.
Ending estimated billing and meter readings – Smart meters mean an end to estimated billing by sharing accurate energy readings directly with your energy supplier. This means you’ll only get charged for the energy you’ve actually used.
If you’d like to learn more about the challenge, British Gas will be sharing its progress each week here, or, you can follow it on twitter #smartmeterchallenge. At the end of the challenge, I’ll also let you know what we’ve learnt from the experience of participating homes.
Want to know more about smart meters? Visit our website.
1 Including businesses, British Gas has installed 1.4m smart meters in the UK.