Quick, safe and cost effective. Design, market-test and launch innovative products, services and business models for Net Zero with real people in over 2,000 connected homes

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VIDEO: How does the Living Lab helps clean tech start-ups test smart energy innovations in real world homes?

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Accelerating zero carbon innovations by testing with real people in real UK homes

Decarbonising UK homes is one of the hardest challenges on the way to Net Zero.

Energy Systems Catapult created the Living Lab to offer a quick, safe and affordable, real-world test environment to de-risk and scale innovations by running trials directly with consumers in their homes.

With over 2,000 digitally connected smart-homes, spread across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales with a variety of tenures, property types and demographics, the Living Lab is digitally open, interoperable and scalable. With room-by-room sensors and a digital integration platform – innovations can be tested with mainstream smart meters, IoT devices, smart heating controls, battery storage, solar PV and electric vehicle chargers.

Innovative businesses can rapidly design, market-test and launch smart energy products, services and business models.

The Living Lab also provides national capability to test and demonstrate market arrangements, policy and regulations with real consumers – as we move towards a Net Zero carbon future.

Living Lab - open for energy innovation trials to accelerate commercialisation

Independent validation

Validate the performance of your product or service with real consumers in real homes

Consumer feedback

Understand how people use your product or service, what they like and dislike

Value for money

No need to build your own lab or recruit your own trialists (but help can help you recruit your own if preferred)

Rapid testing

Your trial could be up and running in 2–3 months, with up to 1,500 homes ready to test innovations


Making sure you product integrates and works alongside other technologies

Established and trusted

A national asset helping energy innovators since 2015 – backed by Government to test and demonstrate market arrangements, policy and regulations

What we offer

Energy Systems Catapult is truly open, interoperable and scalable, offering real-world testing of new energy products, services and business models to de-risk and scale innovations for market.

Innovators using the Living Lab

Product Performance & Consumer Insight

Scottish innovator arbnco is trialling a new digital air quality platform with consumers in the Living Lab with the aim of reducing indoor air pollution, improving ventilation, and safeguarding health.

Around seven million deaths worldwide, and 40,000 in the UK, are attributed to air pollution each year. Yet indoor air quality – including levels of carbon dioxide (CO₂), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) – can often be overlooked compared to outdoor air quality linked to vehicle emissions, despite being up to five times worse in places.

Analysing the air quality results with data on the property and occupants will allow arbnco to deliver alerts on potential harms and advice on mitigating health impacts.

With a growing focus on improving ventilation in buildings due to Covid-19, coupled with the need to improve energy efficiency and therefore the airtightness of homes, the global ventilation market is expanding rapidly, already exceeding £2b in value and expected to reach almost £9b by 2027.

The Living Lab trial comes in the slipstream of arbnco being awarded almost £300k in funding from Innovate UK’s Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition, which is supporting innovators in developing and demonstrating new products and services which monitor a wide range of household pollutants.

arbnco believe there is a strong market for their solution with housing portfolio owners, such as the private rented sector and with purpose-built student accommodation, as well as with equipment manufacturers – including Mitsubishi, who are aiming to integrate arbnco’s air quality platform into their domestic ventilation systems for testing.

Watch the case study:

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Arrange a free virtual session with the Living Lab team to discuss a range of options for how best to deliver your trial.

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