Community Futures: Networked, Social and Smart.
 Posted on 21/05/2014 - 13:24
Idea Outline
How do you create a sustainable energy community on a digital platform? This project investigates the potential of using “good and cheap” advanced digital energy monitoring technology with the intention to support the creation of location-based, sust

The Challenge
Considerable concerns have been raised about the viability of smart meter rollout in Europe due to the high cost, as well as doubts over the benefits realised, particularly by households. However, energy efficiency and behaviour change remains critical, and advanced digital technology holds potential to achieve this agenda. Yet there are few examples where the social and technical aspects have been successfully combined and evaluated in a community. This project investigates the opportunity presented by low cost energy metering that can maximise community benefits. We will also explore the use of community based governance (e.g Co-op, Mutual) where each household will benefit from their personal data, energy advice, as well as aggregated comparative data at the community level. The project

The Solution

Providing information to households about their energy and resource use is a good way to change behaviour, but comparing information with social peers is even more powerful. Our idea is to research the concept of using networked low cost reliable technology to provide internet connected monitoring sensors & data storage presented as a web based interface with alerts and feedback. The concept provides a viable product that gives useful information to users about their energy usage, which can also be shared with their neighbourhood with a focus upon people living in social/affordable rented properties, at lowest feasible cost. If successful the concept can be used to underpin new co-operative models for energy purchase, comparison & sharing of good practice across communities in Europe.

Target group and social impact
Our Activities, Will include an assessment of technical feasibility, building a prototype, commercial review of cost and timescales, rapid stakeholder engagement and evaluation for measuring community benefit. This project aims to achieve “triple bottom line”, economic, social and environmental, impacts of energy efficiency and energy literacy, its ambition is to build significant social capital. Economic impact comes from two sources: cost savings to governments and taxpayers due to the “cheap” technology being deployed, and cost savings to the participating households from increased and dynamic understanding of energy use in the home. The social impact comes from the targeted group – tenants in social/ affordable rented housing and also from the social embedding of innovative technology

Competences of the applicant
Paul Connell has worked in Energy, Technology & Sustainability for over 20 years, Founding Partner of Actuated Futures It creates services and products to connect people and places to the internet at neighbourhood scale. Dr Jenni Viitanen is a member of the Centre for Urban Resilience and Energy, is a co-author of several publications on energy efficiency, housing and ICTs.

Video Link
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Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement
  • Economic Empowerment and Prosperity
  • Environment and Sustainability

  • Tecnology Category
  • Data
  • Mobile
  • Open Source
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

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