Conducting research with Smart Local Energy System demonstrators during the pandemic

Conducting research with SLES demonstrator during the pandemic

By Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University

As part of the user engagement and user influence work being carried out by EnergyREV, I have been collaborating with the PFER Demonstration ESO project in Oxford. Household recruitment began in August and residents at Blackbird Leys in Oxford will have their night storage heating system replaced with a Kensa ground source heat pump system coupled with smart heating controls which will constantly sense, learn and respond to the inhabitant’s behaviour.

I have been working with ESO project partners including Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University and Kensa heat pumps to work with residents signed up to the project. The team have ‘geared up’ in full PPE and stood outside participants homes in to tell them about the project whilst social distancing. An online household survey has been completed and bluetooth based temperature and relative humidity sensors have been installed to collect data in a COVID safe way.

The householders were very welcoming and often invited the research team for tea which had to be politely declined for social distancing reasons.