SSH2: Delivering an effective field trial – Lessons from the Living Lab

Published: 7 June 2019

Introduction

Decarbonising heat is the biggest challenge the UK faces in terms of transforming the energy system to meet carbon reduction targets and achieve our clean growth ambitions.

Energy Systems Catapult delivered the UK’s largest smart, consumer-focused project aimed at overcoming the barriers to the decarbonisation of residential heat – the Smart Systems and Heat (SSH) programme.

SSH Phase 2 (2017-2019) focused on running consumer trials of smart energy services, exploring new business models and market structures (including interoperability) and developing Local Area Energy Plans within three local authorities areas. SSH2 was funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Between October 2017 and June 2018, Energy Systems Catapult ran a field trial working with 108 households to learn more about how people actually use heat. The aim was to test responses to ways of controlling and purchasing heat, and to generate a range of consumer data and insights that will help energy innovators to identify, develop and test new energy products and services.​

This short report draws together some of the insights gathered by Energy Systems Catapult about the process of running an effective field trial. We hope that the lessons and insights shared here will be valuable to energy innovators, researchers, academics, businesses, communities and other organisations considering similar trials.

Key points

We gained valuable insights at different stages of the field trial process, including.

  • Setting objectives
  • Designing the trial
  • Working with partners and contractors
  • Recruiting participants
  • Installation
  • Managing the participant’s experience
  • Data gathering and analysis
  • Planning for the end
  • Reporting.