Energy Savings From Intelligent Metering And Behavioural Change


By Peter Webber

Coordinated by Leicester Energy Agency and with partners in Austria, Denmark and Germany (Table 1), the project used intelligent metering to obtain half-hourly energy and water consumption figures from a total of about 70 local and regional public sector buildings in the four countries. The buildings were typical of the range of local authority buildings found across Europe, and included offices, schools, sports facilities and community centres.


Energieagentur Waldvierte
Sonnenplatz Großschönau GmbH 


County of South Jutland
Esbensen Consulting Engineers A/S 

Germany ENERGIE 2000 e.V
UK IT Power Ltd

Table 1 – Project partners 

The consumption data was processed, then shown via the project website ( in graphic form to give an overall picture of the energy consumption of each of the buildings being monitored. This process of combining data and information from different systems and protocols into one database and arranging for it to be displayed on the website was in fact one of the most complicated and technically involved tasks undertaken. However, once processed, the data was viewable by all of the participants in the project. An example of halfhourly metering data at one of the project sites (a school) is shown in Figure 1.

From the start there was an emphasis on getting the information processed onto the common database and displayed as quickly as possible. The displayed information enabled building users to see the effect of their behavioural changes, perhaps with a delay of one or more days, to help to drive home the message.

Training material was developed specifically for the project under the direction of a professional educator. This ensured that good training principles were adhered to and that, in the case of schools, the correct key stage targets were addressed to conform to the curriculum.

Two training packs were developed, one for school buildings and one for non-school buildings. These used the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Pathways Learning for Sustainability publication.


Figure 1 – An example of half-hourly metering data at a UK school participating in the project

       It was recognised that the training should be adapted for various building users in different buildings. Particular forms of training and training material very relevant for different builing users. Different individuals within the hierarchy of building users would have different areas of influence on the energy consumed within their building.

The partners ensured that a wide range of trainingrelated activities took place using the intelligent metering information to encourage behavioural change of the building occupants. Building occupants were put through parts of the training programme to teach them the benefits of energy efficiency helped by the intelligent metering information. The results of that training showed up in the data collected, with, for example, some graphs showing a reduction in energy use immediately after the training sessions. Over 120 training sessions were carried out with more than 600 people trained.

In different buildings monitored during the project, a range of energy and water savings from the use of intelligent metering and behavioural change were demonstrated and achieved. There have been savings in energy and water from acting on intelligent metering information that showed up during the project, and energy savings from other training activities in the project.

A roadmap for the use of intelligent metering and training elsewhere has been developed and case studies have been produced giving examples of the use of intelligent metering and training experiences in the project. Material has been developed to help other public sector buildings use the training and intelligent metering approach in the project.

Numerous activities to disseminate the concept of intelligent metering and the project have been carried out, such as press releases, appearances on radio and on local TV, presentations at a range of events, and production of project bulletins. A range of information on the use of intelligent metering in the project and the results have been made available on the project website.

As a direct output of the project, a framework for replication of the approach and for on-going training has been developed.

The project has now been completed and the following conclusions can be drawn.

It is possible to collect half-hourly energy and water consumption data from a number of public sector buildings in four European countries, to compile that data in a common database, and to process and display it in graphs on an Internet site. However, some initial preparatory work is necessary to ensure that the data from the different intelligent metering data collection systems being used is in the required format for computer analysis software.

The intelligent metering data collected also helps with the use of the bespoke training package, which was developed specifically for use with occupants of the buildings using intelligent metering.

The project has shown that there are significant energy and water savings to be achieved from the use of intelligent metering and behavioural change of building users. For some buildings being monitored in the project, energy or water saving opportunities have been identified from analysis of half-hourly consumption monitoring data. In cases where these opportunities have been discussed with a representative in the building and corrective action has been taken, savings have been obtained.

Energy savings have also been obtained from training sessions and related behaviour change activities in the project. For example following some training sessions it has been possible to identify at least short-term savings from the intelligent metering information collected.

Lastly, staff training is not a ‘fit and forget’ option, but needs to be reinforced and re-emphasised. More research into the duration of savings is possible using intelligent metering information. To help with the effectiveness of the training it is apparent that gaining the cooperation and involvement of the staff in monitored buildings is crucial.

Intelligent metering is being extended to other public buildings by two of the partners in the project.

As a result of the success of this project, a new project has been put forward to the European Commission’s Intelligent Energy Executive Agency (IEEA) to replicate this work with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Partners have come together in the UK, Portugal, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic and, at the time of writing, are awaiting funding as a ‘reserve’ project.

The Intelligent Metering project received support from the European Commission’s Intelligent Energy Europe programme. The sole responsibility for the content of this article lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.