UCL Energy Institute


Energy Demand Observatory and Laboratory

EDOL is an £8.7m, five-year project to establish an Energy Demand Observatory and Laboratory (EDOL), which aims to generate data on energy usage in UK homes and inform strategies to meet net zero targets. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of UK Research and Innovation), the project is led jointly by UCL Energy Institute and the University of Oxford.

EDOL will develop a range of innovative methods – including innovations emerging around AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) - for monitoring the energy consumed by different appliances and the different energy-using activities that make up daily life at home.

EDOL will consist of three elements, including an ‘Observatory’ of 2000 representative UK households equipped with sensors to record energy used by occupants, their appliances, and their behaviours. The anonymised data will then be analysed by researchers to better understand patterns of energy demand in our homes.

‘Forensic’ analyses of sub-samples of homes that have novel or lesser-known forms of energy demand (for instance, smart charging of electric vehicles) will also be carried out via surveys, interviews, and in-depth monitoring. 

Lastly, the project will include the creation of ‘Field laboratories’ of 100-200 households, in which policies, technologies, business models and other interventions can be tried out and compared to relevant control groups in the Observatory. 

Our research interests

EDOL’s research covers a numbers of different areas all linked by the common thread of innovative use of domestic energy data.

Research questions and challenges 

EDOL will allow researchers to answer questions such as: 'How flexible is the time when people choose to charge their electric vehicles?' and 'Does installing a heat pump have unintended consequences such as increased tumble drying of clothes due to lower radiator temperatures?'

EDOL’s four research challenges are around: reducing energy waste; managing energy disruptions; flexible demand for flexible systems; and energy demand modelling.


Our researchers