UCL Energy Institute


UCL-Energy staff and students present at low carbon homes event

2 March 2012

low carbon housing event

Members of UCL-Energy last night teamed up with the New Economics Foundation and the Royal Academy of Engineers to put on an event on low carbon housing. 

'Low carbon homes - What should be our priority in reducing electricity demand from our homes?’, held at the Dana Centre in London, was one of a series of twelve funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering under their Ingenious grants scheme. The Crowdwise: Engineering the future of housing event began with a brief overview of potential approaches to reduce energy demand from buildings.

Four speakers from UCL Energy Institute: Dr. Catalina Spataru, Dr. Mark Barrett, Stephanie Gauthier, Aurore Julien and Dr Johnathan Radcliffe from the Energy Research Partnership debated four options, covering:

· appliances types; energy saving measures (more efficient lights and appliances);

· automated controls;

· demand side management (smart meters and smart grids i.e. putting the washing machine on when electricity is cheap); Smart meters can give consumers better information about their energy use and its cost, encouraging them to change when and how they use power;

· regulation (through regulation we can edit the choices that consumers face, to ensure that appliances are technologically advanced and efficient);

· policies to support residential energy efficiency improvement and lifestyle change;

· labelling and taxation give consumers a much greater role in decision-making;

· monitoring systems for people behaviour and thermal comfort can help in reducing energy consumption from buildings;

· changing the way people habitually use energy (using economy washing programmes, etc);

· what the surveys tell us about the actions people are willing to take to save energy now and in the context of an energy crisis.

The audience then developed their own suggestions and voted for their preferred options. The event demonstrated how challenging it is to develop practical options to encourage consumers to use less. An overall preference was expressed for market measures to encourage behaviour change.

Image from L-R: Dr Mark Barrett, Dr Catalina Spataru, Dr Jonathan Radcliffe, Stephanie Gauthier, Aurore Julien.

Image credit: British Science Association