TEDDINET Final Event 2018


The TEDDINET final event on 15 June 2018 was held at the Royal Society in London. We gathered to celebrate the learning and relationships that have been built through the TEDDI and BuildTEDDI projects and networks over the last years.

TEDDINET PIs Steven Firth and Dan van der Horst kicked off the event with an overview of TEDDINET and the aims of the workshop. Nick Eyre set off the day with a comprehensive overview of the current and future challenges around energy demand, including energy efficiency and conservation, demand response, fuel switching, and distributed generation and storage. He put forward important questions for policy and research to answer and highlighted Energy and Time and Fuel Switching as critical new challenges that need to be considered. He then offered insight into the new Centre for Research on Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS), which is funded by the Energy Programme of UK Research and Innovation for the period April 2018 to March 2023, with a budget of £19.5 million. It is a distributed centre, involving thirteen UK universities, with an HQ at University of Oxford and has a mandate to undertake whole system research focussing on energy demand and to act as a ‘hub’ for the UK energy demand research community. Key dates and information about the Centre launch and activities can be found in the presentation, downloadable below.

The remainder of the day was divided into four sessions of three presentations followed by Q&A and table discussions. The sessions covered the following topics:

In Session 1, TEDDINET Advisory Board members Judith Ward, Michael Harrison and Roger Street each presented a unique take on the question.

Judith Ward challenged academia to find ways to keep up with the rapid change taking place in energy demand, the ongoing revolution in renewable and decentralized energy, and the steady stream of policy and reform. She emphasised the need to continue working on 'syncing' research outputs and time lines with 'real life' commercial, policy and regulatory horizons and building strong partnerships. She suggested opportunities for future impact in key areas of energy efficiency deployment, heat decarbonisation, whole system and cross vector perspectives and economics as well as distributional and social justice.

Michael Harrison discussed the government agenda around energy, of which smart metering is one part. He covered ways that TEDDINET research has been an important part of BEIS work, including socio-technical experiments and social research that have helped to inform policy; theoretical/conceptual models that have been used to understand empirical research; public engagement; and literature reviews that summarise results so that policy can access evidence. He highlighted the challenge of realising the expectation of smart energy systems to deliver actual benefits and the importance of data access. He concluded by encouraging research to find a convergence with evaluation of smart meters in consumer homes.

Roger Street presented 'The Impacts Challenge' - How do we move from research that generates outputs to generating knowledge and evidence to support action? A focus on enhancing impact can also enhance the quality of research and open up new opportunities. He offered six main areas to focus on: knowledge exchange and trans-disciplinary research; stronger knowledge integration, translation and mobilisation; knowing who needs what evidence and information in what form and for what purpose; co-generating and co-producing research and research outputs that are intended to inform decisions; strong stakeholder and end-user engagement in research; and successful research impact as a function of effective integration within an organisation and its systems. Ultimately, he said, it is not about communicating research but about translating research into outcomes that inform decision-making.

Session 2 provided insights from two TEDDI projects. Martin Pullinger from IDEAL and Stuart Galloway from APAtSCHE summarised results and learning from large-scale field trials, which have been a key aspect of many TEDDI projects. Key outputs from IDEAL cover topics of feedback, machine learning for non-intrusive load monitoring methods and people, buildings and interventions. The IDEAL team plans future work to facilitate the energy transition focussing on automation and control systems; integrating storage systems; evaluating interventions; modelling occupants for building/intervention energy performance; smart sensing and analytics to identify classes of occupant; and applications to improve building energy demand policy and practice in Brasil. Stuart Galloway spoke about attitudes of aging populations, including the importance of meeting needs, affordability and flexibility in a) key energy use strategies and b) attitudes to automated control. He also presented different examples of digital energy interfaces and variability in people's energy use. His final takeaways included remembering that domestic loads represent a substantial contribution to UK energy requirements; when people use energy is as important as how much they use; sustained energy habits are likely to be achievable through appliance automation; and better models of residential demand are needed.

In Session 3, Richard Lorch, Dan van der Horst, and Thomas Berker each presented at a different angle on interdisciplinary research.

Highlighting the unique contributions of Building Research & Information over the years, Richard Lorch lauded the change in research that has led to far more interdisciplinary research; more emphasis on cross-discipline, cross-sector and international collaborations; and less focus on guarding one’s own intellectual capital by not collaborating. He pointed out that new skills are required to work in transdisciplinary ways and that it can be a bumpy journey of learning. He also commended the move toward developing a richer, deeper understanding of different people and populations (previously known as ‘user’) and reframing the notion of 'user' in the direction of active participants and collaborators. He concluded by setting out two challenges: the need to make progress in collective understanding of the specific needs of policy-makers and practitioners and the need for more support for research translation and knowledge exchange. He proposed the development of an independent institution to empower researchers, synthesise existing knowledge, provide research translation targeted at potential users and give voice to the community and help accelerate the impact of research, among other things. He requested participants who are interested in discussing this idea further to get in touch with him.

Dan van der Horst offered an overview of TEDDINET publications, covering the types of research papers written, with research subjects from policy makers to designers and engagement tools and methods from provision of benchmarks to gaming. He suggested five 'cross-cutting' themes: 'non-rational' consumers, control, negotiation, data delivery and no ‘one size fits all’. He suggested three opportunities for the future: more experimentation with new (and disruptive) services and novel project collaborations with non-academic partners; new (and different) ways to recruit and engage with relevant participants; a need for more longitudinal studies and longer-term value of data collected by (build)TEDDI projects.

Thomas Berker from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology presented findings from the MINDER project, a 5-year-long survey on energy management in Norwegian nonresidential buildings, in the context of policy development around low-emission buildings and a 'passive house level' mandatory for all new buildings effective since 2017. He spoke about the difference between two passive house schools, one of which had excellent energy management system while the other had a less-advanced energy management system and an excellent learning environment. He advised that advanced data centric building management is useful, but equally useful is care for the learning environment, adequately performed as people centred management.

In Session 4, the final session, Tom Hargreaves, Ashley Morton and Maxine Frerk gave short inspirational and challenging talks suggesting new approaches and ways of working that can generate new responses and insights. Tom spoke about the value of societal engagement and what it could mean. He challenged the audience to 1) Open up and develop multiple modes of engagement with the future that we are all trying to work towards and 2) Open up our problem framings - don’t close them down around specific pre-defined futures, technologies, etc. He presented speculative design as a potential tool to help in achieving these goals. Ashley presented the eTEACHER project and her experience of adjusting expectations about what to get out of a project and focussing on providing valuable end-user solutions. Maxine Frerk spoke about stakeholder engagement from the angle of the policymaker. She presented key techniques and questions to consider to ensure that the right stakeholders are engaged in the right way, including considering the limitations of people who are not engaging (e.g. they may come from tiny organisations with little funding); the risk of ending up with more industry voice than consumer voice; continually evaluating whether the voices that you are hearing are truly representative; and the importance of putting effort into thinking about how to manage events and workshops with diverse audiences, including how to put people together and manage conversations in the best way.

The day ended with a discussion period led by Val Mitchell and Cat Magill, asking the question of how to support effective collaboration with industry and policy-makers. Each table shared highlights (what works) and challenges from their individual experiences and noted these down. The follow-up from this session will be a workshop that will take place in London on 24 July. The workshop will map the experience of communicating and collaborating on medium to large scale research council projects from the point of view of industry, policy making, public sector and academic stakeholders. The experience of knowledge co-creation across the key stages of a research project will be explored from ‘consortium creation’ to ‘project end’ with the goal of identifying the values and actions that lead to successful collaboration between academic and non-academic partners for each stage. If you are interested in participating, please contact Cat at C.Magill@ed.ac.uk.




Session 1: What do energy companies, SMEs and other market actors need from the research community to realise the benefits of digital innovation for consumers?

Session 2: Progress to date: How are digital technologies helping us to understand energy demand in homes and workplaces?

Session 3: Looking back; what have we learned from interdisciplinary research on energy demand in buildings? (with talks at three temporal scales)

Session 4: Looking forward (beyond energy feedback); How to better co-design future research with stakeholders