Smart Energy Management - 25% Bills Reduction

Domestic demand side response (DSR) can reduce bills by 25%, the UK’s largest trial has found.

The FLATLINE pilot project looked at the viability of a demand-side approach to energy management, using batteries in conjunction with smart energy management systems to allow demand to be ‘time-shifted’ to better align with generation.

It found that the key enabling asset – the battery – led to cost savings of around £220 per year, or roughly a 25% reduction. Additionally, the average carbon emissions at the trial’s 20 newbuild homes at Parc Eirin in Wales were down by 71.2 tCO₂/year. This could be further reduced by 4-6% due to the DSR though.

Smart Energy Management

The homes were fitted with a 6kW Kensa Shoebox ground source heat pump, a 5kW sonnen 9.43 Hybrid battery storage system, a 3.6kW Viridian Clearline Fusion solar PV system and a hot water tank, as well as a resident facing interface developed by Sero and an energy management system developed by Passiv UK.

They were fitted with three Thermokon 698214 thrermostats, CO2 sensors, Sharkey heat meters, Eastron electric consumption meters and dedicated fibre broadband to enable the smart management.

"Our trial shows that using smarter networks and bespoke solutions in the energy system can deliver real savings within domestic settings, as well as contribute to the decarbonisation agenda and support the grid,” said Andy Sutton, co-founder and design and innovation director at Sero Homes.

“Ultimately, the FLATLINE concept proposes a win win scenario: flexible and intelligently-managed energy use - resulting in significantly lower bills to home occupants - practically eliminating the risk of fuel poverty and reducing electrical demands on the national grid by shifting them entirely off peak.”

Cheaper Energy

Residents could use the Sero Life app to set their lifestyle and behavioural preferences, allowing the system’s software to forecast and demand-shift. The algorithms behind the system were additionally informed by weather and behaviour forecasts.

The smart system allowed residents to almost completely avoid the national grid at peak times, keeping emissions to a minimum. It also reduced energy expenses by buying energy at cheaper times, and opening up the benefits of grid balancing payments. Octopus Energy’s Agile API was used to facilitate half-hourly tariffs, allowing residents to take advantage of lower prices.

Additional partners in the project included Tirion Homes, Pobl Group, Western Power Distribution, Sonnen and Mixergy.

FLATLINE was supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) £505 million Energy Innovation Programme, financing the build of the 20 homes at The Mill in Cardiff and Parc Eirin in Tonyrefail, both in South Wales. 

“This is an exciting time for those of us challenging the way we heat our homes through using smart technology to support with the UK's transition to net zero emissions,” said Paul Clark, vice president of policy and marketing at Passiv UK.

“This project really shows what is possible. It should be a blueprint for all developers as they begin to plan for the introduction of the Future Homes Standard, as well as DSOs (distribution system operators), as they bring forward new local flexibility services.”

Over the coming weeks, dissemination webinars will take place to share the full findings of the project with the energy industry, and further explore how domestic DSR can help decarbonise the grid.

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