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European Commission - Press release

Digital Agenda: EU funded project helps citizens compare and reduce their energy consumption via TV, PC and social networks applications

Brussels, 17th February 2012 – Citizens and business often waste energy because they do not realise which appliances and lighting use the most energy. An EU-funded project tested in the United Kingdom and Bulgaria is helping to change that – showing consumers reduced energy usage by an average of 8% when provided with an "information dashboard" about their energy use.

The Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) project shows that when a consumer receives more information about their energy use, and can share and compare this with neighbours and family, they are more likely to change their behaviour. The EU-funded system presents data every 6 seconds through a small digital display. The data can also be displayed in real time via a TV screen, mobile phone, PC or social media app.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "People make better choices when they have better information at hand. The DEHEMS project shows that very simple technologies can go a long way to helping Europe reduce energy use."

The DEHEMS system could set a huge trend in the coming years. Two commercial products are now available: The "Energyhive" (www.energyhive.co.uk) and its network that enables members to get a real time view of their home energy consumption 24/7 through a web browser and "Greenica" (www.greenica.net) which offers special products for homes, schools and small businesses. Thanks to a partnership between Hildebrand and IBM, the DEHEMS project and its lessons will soon be used by businesses both in Europe and worldwide. Major deployment is foreseen with Smart Grids Australia (involving 50,000 homes) and a district heating initiative in Camden, London. Last but not least, the Family House Association in Birmingham is looking to use DEHEMS-type technology thanks to the results achieved so far.

Background

Products based on DEHEMS project are now widely commercially available however 'DEHEMS' is not a brand name.

Based on interviews with 1000 people in the UK and Bulgaria, only 17% of people correctly identified the most power hungry appliance: the washing machine. This provided an indication that extra data would help consumers to make more informed choices about their energy use. The DEHEMS Dashboard is a screen which can be seen on a stand-alone monitor, as well as on a variety of hand held devices, smart phones and PCs. The dashboard can profile the average daily energy usage according to the number of bedrooms, the number of occupants and property type.

Since data is transmitted via the Internet to a central server, comparisons can be made between households of the same type. Therefore, users are not only informed about their own energy consumption, but can also see if they are high, medium or low energy users, compared to others in the same category. This data is anonymous – personal data is not shared, but enough data is shared to make useful comparisons. It is thus possible, for example, for a 2-occupant, single bedroom flat consuming 17kWh of energy per day to be informed that their household is consuming the energy equivalent to a 3-occupant, 3-bedroom household.

The DEHEMS project received an EU financial contribution of 2 878 434 towards the total budget of € 3 728 473. The project partnership includes a mix of European local authorities, private business and universities:

  • United Kingdom: Manchester City Council, Birmingham City Council; Bristol City Council; Clicks and Links Ltd; Coventry University; Hildebrand Technology Ltd; University of Salford

  • Bulgaria: Ivanovo Municipality; Energy Agency Plovdiv; University of Rousse

  • Romania: Institute e-Austria Timisoara; Technical University of Cluj-Napoca

Useful links:

DEHEMS website

DEHEMS project-Summary for citizens

DEHEMS factsheet

DEHEMS leaflet

DEHEMS video

Digital Agenda website

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter

Contacts :

Ryan Heath (+32 2 296 17 16); Twitter: @ECspokesRyan

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)


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