UCL Energy Institute


Smart Energy Research Group (SERG)

The Smart Energy Research Group (SERG) aims to maximise the benefits of smart meters and smart devices while minimising risks associated with collecting energy data.

The roll out of smart meters and internet enabled devices (IOT) is potentially transformational in how we manage energy demand and plan for a zero carbon transition. SERG aims to better understand the evolution of energy use and the key drivers of change by facilitating innovative research via the Smart Energy Research Lab.

SERG developed from our core project – the Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL). The development and operation of SERL remains a primary activity for the group but we have a broad range of research interests roughly centred around energy demand in buildings; encompassing:

  • Core SERL research functions:
    • Observatory – improving our knowledge of the evolution of energy demand in GB homes.
    • Laboratory – Field trials and intervention studies etc.
  • Monitoring beyond smart meters (e.g. via CADs and IoT) and disaggregated energy demand 
  • Data analytics, data quality and uncertainties
  • Governance and ethics of using smart meter and other associated high resolution data.

We collaborate with several partners on the SERL project - The Energy Saving Trust, University of Edinburgh, University of  Essex (UK Data Archive), Cardiff University, Leeds Beckett University, Loughborough University and the University of Southampton – as well as a range of other academic partners across a range of research interests. We also regularly work with government (e.g. BEIS, MHCLG), the devolved administrations, Ofgem, Smart Energy GB, energy suppliers, DNOs and many other commercial organisations and NGOs/charities.


Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have funded a 5-year project to develop a Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL) to provide vital access to energy data for the UK research community.
The Smart Energy Research Lab will provide a secure portal for researchers to access high-resolution energy data, which will facilitate innovative energy research for years to come.

The goals of the portal are to provide:

  • A consistent, trusted, and sustainable channel for researchers to access large-scale (10k GB homes), high-resolution energy data, thereby providing a reliable empirical dataset for research;
  • An effective mechanism for collecting energy data alongside other variables from national surveys (e.g. English Housing Survey) or individual research projects;
  • A confidential, ongoing repository of smart meter data enhanced with contextual dwelling, household and neighbourhood attributes for use in primary and secondary data analysis;
  • Facilitation of better research by developing best practices and methods to improve data security and enable innovative uses of smart meter data. 

Smart Energy Savings (SENS) trials

Smart Energy Savings (SENS) is a large, complex project funded by BEIS with an overall objective to identify innovative products and services using smart meter data that can deliver energy savings in homes. UCL’s primary role on the project is to provide data and analytical services (via SERL) to support consistent evaluation across the 8 individual trials.


Simon Elam, Principal Research Associate and SERL Director
Prof Tadj Oreszczyn, Professor of Energy and Environment and SERL Project Lead Investigator
Prof David Shipworth, Professor of Energy and the Built Environment
Andrew Smith, Principal Research Associate
Dr Eoghan McKenna, Senior Research Associate in Data Science & End Use Energy Demand
Dr Ellen Webborn, Research Associate in Data Science & End Use Energy Demand