Independent consumer experts helping innovators – large and small – see beyond what people say to understand what they do
Putting consumers at the heart of the Net Zero energy transition
People are different, especially when it comes to energy. They want different things and do different things to get what they want. Our consumer experts use technology and experts technique to see beyond what people say to understand what they do
We work with energy companies and product manufacturers, government and local authorities, consumer advocates and cutting edge innovators to ensure people are at the heart of the Net Zero transition.
Energy Systems Catapult supports businesses to flourish by helping design and test innovative service propositions and business models with real consumers.
We also support local places in gaining the support of local people, so they can take real action on the climate emergency.
And we work with businesses, policy-makers, regulators and consumer champions to ensure inclusion and protection for the most vulnerable as we transform the economy to achieve net zero.
Understanding consumers is vital to designing better products and services. We can help you gather consumer data that persuades investors and policy makers. Offering a blends of qualitative and quantitative research, our Home Truths panel, and growing multi-client studies co-funded by innovators.
We can help you design services, including a testable prototype with systems, processes and a user experience (UX) that is intuitive to learn and delightful to use – supported by business model tools to optimise the commercial logic and make better business decisions.
Enabling innovators to rapidly market test product and service innovations with focus groups or trials in a real-world Living Lab of over 1,700 homes, with consumer experts and data scientists
What we offer
Energy Systems Catapult combines cutting-edge data science, user-experience design thinking and in-depth consumer research.
Home Truths® consumer panel
Get feedback from thousands of homes with the only UK consumer panel backed by thought leaders in energy policy, business modelling and systems engineering.
Visit our People Lab - Improving the user experience for energy services to add value to people’s lives, by building appealing propositions with our experienced designers
Visit our People Lab - Turn your concept into a prototype with our heavyweight service designers and UX professionals with leading-edge digital tools to qualify and de-risk your innovation.
Visit our People Lab - Find out how people use your product or service so you can improve it. Use simple things, like diaries, to record their everyday experiences using your product.
Quick, safe and affordable. Rapidly design, market-test and launch innovative energy products, services and business models with real people in over 1,700 connected homes.
Harnessing innovation to better understand and reduce vulnerability to fuel poverty by designing smarter and more effective policies, products, services and consumer protections.
Accelerating a Virtual Power Plant to market
Manchester-based Evergreen Smart Power are an innovative Virtual Power Plant business, aggregating and controlling domestic energy loads resulting from electric vehicles (EVs) and heating to suit specific customer, market, generation and grid conditions.
Evergreen’s EV solution can respond to grid conditions, moving charging to off-peak hours to reduce strain on the network at peak times, while ensuring that EVs are sufficiently charged when needed. The solution also optimises other loads, such as heat pumps and electric heaters.
Energy Launchpad helped Evergreen develop their future roadmap through competitive landscaping, consumer insights/trial and detailed analysis with our Business Model Innovation team. This examined alternative target markets and revenue streams. Outputs were developed to be used for pitches to future investors.
Following this incubation support, Energy Systems Catapult then helped Evergreen develop and deliver a follow-on test & demonstration project called Flexibly-Responsive Energy Delivery with 250 consumers driving and smart-charging EVs at home – supported by our Consumer Insight team.
Evergreen Smart Power Co-Founder Andy McKay said: “Prior to this piece of work we had one main product. In effect this has identified two new product variants that address innovative opportunities and other areas that will move quicker than our long term market. This will translate into 3 separate platforms requiring separate teams.
“Energy Launchpad has allowed us to tap into a wide range of energy sector industry expertise with a support package tailored to our specific needs. It’s an opportunity every energy start-up would benefit from.”
Watch the case study:
Digital Prototyping and Living Lab: Heat-as-a-Service
Bristol Energy became the first energy supplier in the UK to trial selling ‘Heat-as-a-Service’ (HaaS).
Instead of purchasing units of energy (kWh), HaaS allows consumers to buy hours of warmth for a price that is tailored to their specific home and lifestyle using data from their own sensors and smart heating controls.
HaaS could provide a powerful proposition to switch consumers to low carbon heating and create opportunities for entirely new business models and policy options.
Energy Systems Catapult helped Bristol Energy design and trial a HaaS offering with consumers in our Living Lab of real-world homes:
- Designing a HaaS offering for Bristol Energy using data from homes in the Living Lab to give consumers improved control over comfort and cost.
- The trial allowed Bristol Energy to test an innovative business model with services offered as either pay-as-you-go or for fixed monthly prices, that included the option of low carbon retrofit bundled into the price.
- The project helped Bristol Energy attract new customers and switch them to their HaaS offer.
- Nine out of ten new customers continue to use HaaS (the 10% that didn’t were too late to the offer), with half opting to include low carbon retrofit.
Fair Futures: Smarter Consumer Protections
Citizens Advice commissioned research from Energy Systems Catapult to understand the risks and opportunities involved in a smart energy future – and how consumer protection needs to evolve.
Smart energy – where digital controls and sensors help tailor energy provision for each specific household – has the potential to revolutionise how people buy energy and interact with suppliers.
Smarter protections: Potential risks for consumers in a smart energy future – explored the consumer issues through a short six week activity of desk based research, a workshop between Citizens Advice and Energy Systems Catapult and feedback from industry and policy stakeholders in the sector.
The research is now informing Citizens Advice’s approach to consumer protection so it can effectively advocate for consumers as smart energy evolves.
Following this work, the Energy Revolution integration Service funded the development of an interactive Smarter Consumer Protection Manual to provide energy innovators with clear, structured techniques to help consider consumer protection, whether you are designing a new innovation or already have the technology and service available.
See the Smarter Consumer Protection Manual.
Home Truths® Consumer Panel
Energy Systems Catapult utilised their unique combination of consumer research and energy expertise to Understand the Consumer Perspective on Net Zero.
As part of the Innovating to Net Zero project that modelled 100s of potential pathways to achieve 2050 carbon emissions targets – over 2,000 people were surveyed and focus groups conducted to understand public attitudes, including:
- Perceptions of climate change, its severity and what activity contributes to it
- Attitudes towards low carbon technologies and behaviours in heating, diet and transport.
The research found that while most people (75%) believe climate change is a serious threat, many are still unclear about which parts in their lives contribute to the problem – with only 49% realising gas heating emit carbon.
Other key findings include:
- 49% of people think agriculture contributes to climate change
- 41% of people would be willing to cut red meat intake by a quarter
- 34% of people that flew last year would be willing to fly less often in the year ahead
- 22% of people would consider switching to an electric car in the next year
- Less than 20% of people would consider switching to low carbon heating.
How to work with us
We are not-for-profit, independent and technology-agnostic – building a trusted track record of delivering thought leadership, collaborative R&D and commercial commissions – so are uniquely placed to take on the challenges that others cannot tackle.
Collaborate with us: We work with partners from the public and private sectors to secure funding and collectively deliver the innovation projects and thought leadership that tackle the hardest challenges in the way to Net Zero.
Commission us: We offer independent support, evidence and insights – with technical, commercial and policy expertise – to identify and deliver Net Zero innovation priorities. Then actively support clients to develop actionable plans for implementation.
If you are interested in working with us, contact us by completing the form and one of the team will be in touch.Contact us
Want to know more?
Find out more about how Energy Systems Catapult can help you and your teams
Get in touch
Want to know more?
Find out more about how Energy Systems Catapult can help you and your teams