Innovation and Technical Evaluation

To achieve the UK’s target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 it will be essential to transform our existing housing stock, with insulation, low carbon heating, and renewable energy generation.   

Technologies such as heat pumps, solar PV and domestic batteries have the potential to make energy more accessible and affordable for millions of low-income and vulnerable households. So too do innovations such as flexible tariffs and smarter grids.

But how do we know which technologies would best-suit these householders? What needs might they have that aren’t being met by existing systems and services? And how do we ultimately ensure a fair transition for all?

Innovating for vulnerable and low-income households

Our ambition is to help solve fuel poverty through understanding and applying innovations in vulnerable and low-income households. In partnership with Government, gas and electricity distribution networks, housing providers, installers and others we undertake:

Product Innovation

For decades our Innovation and Technical Evaluation Team have been at the forefront of trialling new technologies in fuel-poor households to better understand how innovation and technology can make a fundamental and sustainable difference to comfort, warmth, and the affordability of energy bills.

Service and System (re)Design

We advocate for inclusive service design from the point of development, considering how best to serve all customers. We work closely with Government, Ofgem, the Energy Industry and others to better understand internal service design and provide recommendations on improvements that will enhance the customer journey.

Engagement Models

We must ensure that we are engaging effectively with consumers, particularly those in marginalised groups who may not find traditional forms of engagement accessible, perhaps due to a language barrier. We appraise existing approaches and critically consider alternative methods of reaching out to communities.

Work with us

Our Innovation and Technical Evaluation team has extensive experience of delivering socio-technical field trials working directly with manufacturers and consumers to understand how innovation can be used to enhance the efficiency of homes, improve resident comfort, reduce costs, and ultimately take householders out of fuel poverty. Our Innovation and Technical Evaluation team:  

Provide expert consultancy support to stakeholders, including housing providers and manufacturers on system design considerations and consumer engagement to enhance the effectiveness of projects and initiatives. 

Undertake demonstration projects to understand how innovative technologies and project approaches can enhance outcomes for low income and vulnerable consumers.

Offer a person-centred approach to our trials to fully understand the applicability of different technologies to different property types, household profiles, energy demands and available tariffs.

Undertake comprehensive social and technical monitoring and evaluation within the home including resident questionnaires, energy and environmental data capture and analysis, thermal analysis, Energy Performance Surveys (rdSAP and retrofit assessment) and full reporting. 

Support recipients of interventions with bespoke and tailored advice commensurate with resident need 

Utilising our insights the team develop recommendations and disseminate findings widely to help embed best practice.

Our work

Domestic batteries and electric storage heaters in North Devon

Supporting residents to use their Solar PV systems

New training course – Decarbonising homes: technologies, impacts and solutions

Read our technical evaluation reports

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