Citizens and business often waste energy because they do not realise which appliances and lighting use the most energy. An EU-funded project tested in the United Kingdom and Bulgaria is helping to change that – showing consumers reduced energy usage by an average of 8% when provided with an “information dashboard” about their energy use.
The Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) project shows that when a consumer receives more information about their energy use, and can share and compare this with neighbours and family, they are more likely to change their behaviour. The EU-funded system presents data every 6 seconds through a small digital display. The data can also be displayed in real time via a TV screen, mobile phone, PC or social media app.
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “People make better choices when they have better information at hand. The DEHEMS project shows that very simple technologies can go a long way to helping Europe reduce energy use.”
The DEHEMS system could set a huge trend in the coming years. Two commercial products are now available: The “Energyhive” (www.energyhive.co.uk) and its network that enables members to get a real time view of their home energy consumption 24/7 through a web browser and “Greenica” (www.greenica.net) which offers special products for homes, schools and small businesses. Thanks to a partnership between Hildebrand and IBM, the DEHEMS project and its lessons will soon be used by businesses both in Europe and worldwide. Major deployment is foreseen with Smart Grids Australia (involving 50,000 homes) and a district heating initiative in Camden, London. Last but not least, the Family House Association in Birmingham is looking to use DEHEMS-type technology thanks to the results achieved so far. Here to read more.