equiwatt partners with Energy Systems Catapult’s Living Lab to test its energy saving app
Climate tech startup, equiwatt Ltd, has partnered with Energy Systems Catapult to run a focused research project with its app-based energy saving technology, which rewards consumers for using less electricity at peak times.
In winter 2022/23, equiwatt took part in National Grid’s Demand Flexibility Service (DFS) Scheme. Since then, the app-based rewards provider is continuing to evolve its technology, having secured £631,944 from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero, through the ‘Energy Entrepreneurs Fund’, part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.
This project with Energy Systems Catapult will focus on a trial of automated services within the app for connected systems such as smart thermostats, heat pumps, electric vehicle (EV) charging and smart appliances.
50 households from Energy Systems Catapult Living Lab will be selected to test and trial the free equiwatt app’s additional automation features, as the test group utilise the rewards-based system to influence energy saving behaviour around EV charging, smart heating and smart plug controls. The Living Lab is made up of over 2,000 digitally connected smart homes across the UK and provides innovators with a real-world testbed for their technologies and services.
As part of the testing, households will be incentivised to reduce energy use at peak times via equiwatt’s app, by using smart meter data to monitor household energy use and to automatically switch off high-energy usage appliances and pause EV charging when energy is dirtiest and most expensive.
The research project with the Living Lab also follows equiwatt’s successful involvement in Energy Systems Catapult’s Energy Launchpad, which helped the startup prepare for further investment and scale up their customer base.
Johnson Fernandes, Founder and CEO at equiwatt, said: “Having first worked with Energy Systems Catapult back in 2019, we are really excited to be working with their Living Lab team”.
“In addition to the experience of being part of the DFS programme in 2022, the trial will provide us with invaluable consumer insights as we bring new features to the app and help us evaluate our market approach and solution in a closed environment to further enhance the end user experience. It will also contribute to accelerating our work in helping create a more flexible and efficient UK energy system for all.”
“We believe our app can help millions of people across the UK reduce their energy bills and support the transition to a net zero world and this trial has an important role to play in making this a reality.”
Becky Sweeney, Business Leader – Homes, at Energy Systems Catapult, said: “We first had the privilege of working with the equiwatt team when they joined our Energy Launchpad, since then we have watched as they have grown their proposition, attracted further investment, and become a market leader in demand side energy management.”
“The next step in their journey is to better understand how consumers respond to the app and play their part in meeting the challenges of the energy transition. By making use of our Living Lab capability, equiwatt will have an opportunity to see first-hand how the behaviour of consumers impacts their energy management choices in a real-world environment”.
Within the trial, Energy Systems Catapult will monitor key areas of Living Lab trialist’s electricity usage:
The Catapult’s experience in consumer insight will be deployed on this project, with the team collecting feedback from consumers throughout the trial on their EV charging habits, patterns of use, and the ease with which they are able to use the equiwatt app.
equiwatt will be working with the Living Labbers selected for this trial to understand their thoughts and views on direct intervention in charging behaviour to reduce peak-time use. Energy Systems Catapult will conduct a range of interviews to gauge their receptiveness to this idea.
Smart heating controls
The lived experiences of consumers using the smart heating control element of the equiwatt app will be closely monitored throughout the trial.
The Catapult will conduct qualitative research with participants to explore their attitudes to equiwatt controlling their heating by increasing or turning off their heating technologies at certain times, as well as their satisfaction with the control the app offers them over this and their likelihood to continue allowing equiwatt to control their heating in the future.
Smart plug control
As part of the trial, equiwatt will provide participants with energy monitoring smart plugs. Smart plugs enable consumers to carefully monitor their energy use and switch off appliances that aren’t in use remotely via their mobile phone. equiwatt and the Catapult will monitor how participants use the plugs, their experience of using them, and their motivations for using them.
Johnson Fernandes, Founder and CEO at equiwatt
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