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UK's first smart home energy research lab opens

Thursday 29 November 2018

DECEMBER 7, 2018 sees the launch of the UK’s first ‘smart meters’ research facility, amid controversy around the new technology.

The Smart Meters>Smart Homes laboratory aims to supply government and consumers with data and advice on smart meter performance and usage and provide a research base for industry and manufacturers.

University researchers, working in partnership with industry, will explore how smart meters best work in tandem with the growing array of home technology like energy savers and storage devices, EV chargers, bots, smart speakers, sensors and wearables.

The new facility is based at The University of Salford's Joule House which has a global reputation in domestic energy research centred on EnergyHouse, the world’s first whole building test facility in a controlled environment, and the recently-unveiled EnergyHouse 2.0

'Explosion of tech' 

Lead researcher Professor Will Swan said: “Domestic energy systems are becoming more complex due to the advent of renewables, time-of-use tariffs, energy storage and a greater fluidity in the customer-supplier relationship.

“What we currently have is an explosion of tech – but little impact on common objectives like lowering bills, cutting carbon and customer satisfaction.

“The university of Salford can provide clarity around the benefits, possibilities and pitfalls of this new home energy technology for consumers, regulators and innovators.”

The morning launch* will be attended by Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and MP for Salford & Eccles, along with research, industry and consumer representatives.


A national programme to install smart-meters in 30 million homes and small businesses by 2020 is underway but has been criticised for delays and cost increases.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is convinced the use of smart metering has the potential to not only help consumers, but to open up new opportunities for innovation in British industry in products and services.

Dr Richard Fitton, lecturer in energy efficiency who advises Parliament on home energy measurement, said: “We see the smart meter infrastructure as presenting a major new opportunity for innovation in the UK.We could see whole new categories of products and services that change the way we consume, produce and store energy, bringing potential benefits to consumers.”

Cleaner, greener

Robert Cheesewright, Director of Corporate Affairs at Smart Energy GB, said: “Smart meter technology is paving the way for a cleaner, greener and more energy efficient country, so this test facility will be a fantastic resource for helping everyone get the best from smart meters now and in the future.”

Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, Octopus Energy Director of Product and Marketing, said: "We are delighted to be involved with such an innovative research facility, and that our Agile Octopus, the first energy tariff to truly use the power of the smart meter to enable customers to use power when it's cheapest, or greenest, can play such a part in the home of the future."


*Media Briefing at the University of Salford

Journalists are invited to a briefing from at 10am on December 7, 2018 at Joule House, The University of Salford, The Crescent (A6) M5 4WT,which will include an introduction by Dr Richard Fitton, lecturer in Energy Efficiency, presentation by Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, and a brief tour of the SmartMeters>Smart Homes lab. Networking and lunch to follow.

Please let The Press Office know if you would like to attend to speak to the researchers, industry and consumer representatives 0161 295 6895

Find out more

Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)

0161 295 6895