UK domestic demand response trial demonstrates 25% savings


The government funded FLATLINE trial has demonstrated that homes can reduce energy costs while also providing balancing services for the national grid.

The trial involving an initial 20 new build homes at two sites in Cardiff and Tonyrefail in south Wales was designed to demonstrate how, using batteries in conjunction with smart energy management systems, demand from homes could be time-shifted to better align with energy generation.

The 20 homes were installed with solar panels, battery storage, hot water tanks and ground source heat pumps, along with a resident facing interface developed by smart home developer Sero and energy management system from Passiv UK.

Residents entered their lifestyle and behavioural preferences into the ‘Sero Life’ app, enabling the energy system’s software to forecast and demand shift, using factors like weather and behaviours to inform its algorithms.

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The systems then intelligently drew, discharged and anticipated energy demands, almost completely avoiding the national grid at peak times and keeping carbon intensity to a minimum.

The system reduced energy expenses by around 25% through a combination of buying energy at cheaper times and opening up the benefits of grid balancing payments. In real terms, the savings amounted to around £220 (US$310) per year.

The average carbon emissions saving at the Tonyrefail development are forecast at 71.2t/year. This could be increased by a further 4-6% due to demand side response.

“Our trial shows that using smarter networks and bespoke solutions in the energy system can deliver real savings within domestic settings, as well as contribute to the decarbonisation agenda and support the grid,” comments Andy Sutton, Co-Founder and Design and Innovation Director at Sero Homes.

“We know that demand side response is expected to play a key role within future electricity systems, so our pilot has major implications when it comes to the potential for scaling up and rolling out more innovative and clean energy processes.”

The intention is to build the FLATLINE technology into all 225 homes within the Park Eirin development in Tonyrefail

The homes are being built to a higher specification than the industry average ensuring maximum thermal envelope efficiency.

Other partners in the project were sonnen, Samsung and network operator Western Power Distribution.

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