UCL Energy Institute


Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL) Pilot Phase launches

7 August 2019

SERL consortium invites households to share their energy data.

SERL logo

The Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL) is a major UK research project that aims to utilise household energy consumption data available via smart meters to fuel a new wave of innovative energy research. This research will help make the UK’s energy more efficient, sustainable and affordable. 

Robert Cheesewright, Director of Corporate Affairs at Smart Energy GB said: ‘It’s exciting to see new and innovative projects taking place which harness smart meter technology. The SERL research will be instrumental in unlocking many more benefits of smart metering both at a household and on a national level, helping to drive innovation and advancement in the energy sector for years to come.’

The five-year project is run by a consortium of seven UK universities* and the Energy Saving Trust and is funded by UKRI (UK research councils). The team have been working since August 2017 to develop the complex technical and data governance structures needed to ensure that energy consumption data is gathered from consenting households in full accordance with the relevant legislation, including GDPR and the Smart Energy Code. 

Data will be stored on a state-of-the-art big data platform at the UK Data Archive, hosted at the University of Essex. From here accredited UK academic researchers get controlled access to appropriate data for approved research projects via a secure research portal. Project applications will be assessed by a data governance board to ensure that their use of the data complies with SERL’s rigorous data governance and ethical protocols.

The project team have been working with Ipsos MORI to develop a pilot phase of participant recruitment which will be conducted from August to October 2019. Following the pilot phase another wave of participant recruitment will follow in early 2020. SERL’s target is to ultimately recruit 10,000 participating households for the core observatory panel. 

Tadj Oreszczyn, Professor of Energy and Environment at University College London and Principal Investigator of SERL said:

It’s a very exciting time for the project as we begin to recruit GB households and approach the ‘go-live’ date of the research portal. We hope that SERL will enable a new generation of energy research that can help address some of the biggest challenges facing our society today’.

Simon Elam, SERL Director, UCL said: 

A lot of background work has been carried out in the last 18 months to ensure that our systems and protocols are robust and secure. As the data begins to flow, we move into a new phase of the project which will entail fine-tuning our systems and starting some innovative research using SERL data’.

If you have received an invitation letter and wish to participate, please follow the instructions in the invitation letter or visit the SERL website for more information. Participation in SERL is currently by invitation only.

Contact details: Website: www.serl.ac.uk | Email: info@serl.ac.uk

Our Research Partners

*University College London, University of Essex UK Data Archive, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, Energy Saving Trust, Leeds Beckett University, Loughborough University, University of Southampton.