Saving energy in the home through digital feedback and control systems: An introduction to the DEFACTO project

Becky Mallaband, Victoria Haines, Ashley Morton, Ehab Foda, Arash Beizaee, Jacqueline Beckhelling, David Allinson, Dennis Loveday, Kevin Lomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


There is a substantial need to reduce the amount of energy used to heat domestic
properties within the UK. Nearly a third (29%) of the UK gas and electricity
consumption is used in homes, of which 80% is for space heating and hot water
provision [1]. The DEFACTO project (Digital Energy Feedback And Control
Technology Optimisation) is a five year EPSRC-funded project (2012-2017) which is
investigating how the use of digital heating control and feedback devices can enable
the reduction of this domestic energy use. In particular the project is investigating the
implications of domestic heating systems with zonal control, identifying the potential
savings incurred. In the UK, digital technology has the potential to provide
householders with feedback on their heating energy use and an ability to control
where and when this energy is used. However, it is not yet known how much energy
these digital technology devices will save and in which households they will work
This paper introduces the DEFACTO project and reports some of the initial findings
which discuss the use of these feedback and control systems within domestic
properties. The project has three main phases: an initial planning and testing phase
to explore the technology in unoccupied homes and to prepare for in-home trials,
followed by two stages of real home studies, one smaller, more detailed pilot study
and then a substantial, longitudinal trial involving hundreds of homes. This paper
covers findings from the planning and testing phase as well as early findings from
the pilot in-home study, but also discusses issues relating to the complexity of
conducting the large scale trial.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBehave 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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