Challenge / Goal
The Royal Borough of Greenwich brought together two Sharing Cities solutions to demonstrate how energy management can be augmented by citizen engagement. The Digital Social Market encourages citizens to engage with and use sustainable services, shifting perceptions and changing behaviours through rewards. The Sustainable Energy Management System centralises information and controls many local energy systems and devices.
Greenwich Energy Hero was offered as a service to households in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. It brings awareness to balancing the demand and supply of electricity, and has tested households’ ability to change their behaviours and patterns of electricity consumption in return for rewards.
A Digital Social Market (DSM) coined with the name "Greenwich Energy Hero" was implemented in Greenwich through the Sharing Cities project. It focused on ‘residential demand side response’ (DSR) to mitigate peaks in demand for energy, by reducing peak consumption. It does so by simulating communication between energy producers and networks, and energy consumers (residents), via an aggregator. When network demand is high, consumers are asked to reduce their use for a temporary period of time. This helps to ease demand on producers and reduces strain on the network. In return, consumers are financially rewarded.
After residents sign-up to the DSM, they are visited by a Groundwork London ‘Green Doctor’ (a home heating and energy efficiency specialist). They install a small electricity monitoring device (CT clamp) to the resident’s electricity meter. A separate wireless module communicates a reading to the household’s wifi hub. These devices communicate with the Greenwich Energy Hero app. As the second generation of smart meters becomes common, users should be able to connect through their smart meter removing the need for a separate metering device.
DSM is a citizen-centred approach. An impact mapping process was carefully and collaboratively developed between project teams, stakeholders and end users. The aim was to define the proposed DSM and its economic, environmental and social benefits.
Greenwich Energy Heroes were asked to reduce their electricity consumption for a temporary period through an app notification. Users were allocated points based on their reduction in electricity from their baseline during an alert, and for other engagement in the service. Their points were converted into vouchers or a donation to a local charity at quarterly intervals.
All households in Greenwich were eligible for participation. By installing CT clamps on electricity meters and linking this to the app, households of all types were able to engage with demand side response. Participants did not need an electric car, household appliances connected to the internet, or solar panels installed to receive rewards for eco-friendly behaviour and changing their electricity consumption patterns.
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