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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 seconds My name is Anne Beaulieu and I’m program manager of Energysense. Energysense is a large-scale project that it’s being developed by the University of Groningen in The Netherlands. And with Energysense we want to connect households, and researchers, businesses that are involved in innovation and government.

Skip to 0 minutes and 34 seconds So the University of Groningen has invested in this project. We also have some companies that are helping us build this. We see in the future all kinds of users, governments that have targets that they want to obtain, in terms of reducing energy use, or measuring CO2 trends; and companies who might also want to pursue their innovation or do research themselves, they can also make use of Energysense. The goal of Energysense is really to provide an infrastructure which will enable the data to circulate and be put to all kinds of uses.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds And while we don’t have a specific service that we ourselves are going to develop or provide to the household, we provide the context in which this services, or these new practices might arise. So by providing a platform where data is available, where there can be interaction with potential users, we create a kind of ecosystem where all kinds of new services might be developed and benefit households. Energysense also makes it possible for businesses that are developing innovations to also develop that together with the household. So we have activities of co-creation where we put the household in touch with designers in the early stages so there’s a better connection between new services or new products and potential users of these.

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 seconds The research and innovation that takes places in Energysense contributes to the energy transition. We are not going to do marketing research, or we are not going to send our participants an offer for a new refrigerator, so that’s outside the scope of Energysense.

Skip to 2 minutes and 29 seconds So far we’ve had two approaches, on the one hand, we want the population in Energysense to be representative of The Netherlands, so we have a particular recruitment strategy for this where we randomly approach people to be part of Energysense. And on the other hand we also recruit participants through our partners, so through a sports club, or through employers, where we put up the message to invite people to be part of Energysense. And this also means that we really see this as a relationship with the households. You know, you trust us to give us your data in a kind of open ended way, to do good things for the energy transition.

Skip to 3 minutes and 13 seconds So we want to communicate very regularly with households what were doing with their data. So this means that when they register, there is a sort of a consent that they get to read and sign and agree to. From the moment that we really start drawing data about to their smart meter, we also send them a postcard to the household, a physical object to the physical address. And the point of that is to kind of reinforce the awareness that people are sharing this data. Also do an additional check you know.

Skip to 3 minutes and 49 seconds If you get a postcard from Energysense and you’ve never heard of it, then, you know, that might raise questions and prevented that maybe somebody else signed you up in order to steal your data or something. So it’s an additional moment of contact where we remind people and thank them for taking part in Energysense. Right now we have eight hundred households and they’re sharing their data with us and are willing to fill a questionnaire or take part in innovation activities. And we want to grow to ten thousand.

Skip to 4 minutes and 22 seconds This will enable, on the one hand, to have a group that we simply monitor and follow and don’t have interventions with, but also have enough participants who might take part in interventions or special programs to reduce energy and do that kind of more engaged research. There’s all kinds of motivations for being part of Energysense. And that also translates to what people want to be active with or what they want to be involved with. So for some people it’s a way of doing something positive, of contributing to the energy transition that doesn’t really

Skip to 4 minutes and 58 seconds cost them too much time or too much effort and they think: “Well, you know, if this data can help I have this data so I’m happy to contribute it.” Others are very much motivated by this idea that their household may be one of the early adopters, or that they might get to use some kind of product or gadget in their house and be able to tinker with that and experiment with it as well. And yet others, have had very negative experiences with the current energy system. In the Netherlands we’ve had earthquakes that have to do with gas production, and they feel that this is sort of a positive way that they can very concretely contribute to the energy transition.

Skip to 5 minutes and 48 seconds So between the moment that somebody says: “Yes, I want to be part of Energysense here is the code for my smart meter and I give you permission to read the data from my smart meter.” It’s usually three or four days between that moment and the time that we see the data appearing in our database. Energysense has developed a platform in which households can join, they’re able through a website to sign up to be part of Energysense. And from there, there’s a series of questions that we ask in order to register their smart meter to be able to gather the smart meter data.

Skip to 6 minutes and 27 seconds We also have questionnaires so that we get the sociodemographic data about the households and information about the dwelling, when it was build, the size, whether there are solar panels or an electric car in the household. That’s all data that we gather from web interfaces.

Skip to 6 minutes and 50 seconds We also have a regular events where we have an opportunity to discuss particular topics with the households.

Skip to 7 minutes and 0 seconds And depending on the requests that we get as Energysense, so I said this was a way of getting the households and researchers and businesses in touch, so depending on the kinds of requests we get from a researcher for example, then we invite households to take part in additional research. So if a researcher wants to look at households that have electric cars, then were able to approach that set of households and invite them to be part of an extra piece of research together with this researcher. So we have a role to gather data but also act as an interface connecting those who have the knowledge or the experience, and those who have the questions.

Skip to 7 minutes and 44 seconds We’ve built Energysense using some of the standardized categories that are also used by the Dutch Bureau for Statistics. So that will mean that the data we gather can easily be compared to data that the Dutch governments and these agencies are also collecting. And if researchers want to couple our data to other sources, this is also something that they have to alert us to, so that we can look together. Does that raise issues for privacy? Does that increase identifiability of households? One of the ways that household can be active is by consulting the data, the data that we gather about the households is also visible to the household in a dashboard, so they can see their own energy consumption.

Skip to 8 minutes and 31 seconds Energysense is really a two way street, so this idea that we only take from households, that’s kind of old fashioned science, old fashion research. We really want this two way street. And one of the ways that we make this happen is by providing a dashboard to the households where they can log in and see their own energy consumption and get a little bit of contextual information about how the energy use in their household looks like.

Skip to 9 minutes and 1 second So households using this dashboard can see historical data, going back to a month ago or a year ago in the same month, and they can get that kind of insight into their energy use and how that may be changing and there’s also a benchmark data per postcode where they can see, compared to other participants, how their household is doing. One of our earliest projects in Energysense was to couple the data that we’re getting from households that have solar panels and to show in a special dashboard within this project whether people are taking energy from the grid, or putting energy back into the grid, or whether they’re in balance.

Skip to 9 minutes and 47 seconds So this was one way in which we try to develop new roles for households, not simply as consumers, you know, are you saving money or you spending money, but to really show them what their role is in the energy system whether they’re actually benefiting from the grid or contributing energy to it. Give them an experience of what being a producer might be. That’s a typical example of the new kinds of services that Energysense could enable.

Meet the expert: Data in motion

Anne Beaulieu is the Program Manager at EnergySense, a project developed by the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, to connect households, researchers, businesses and government. EnergySense provides infrastructure to enable the data to circulate and be applied for a variety of uses. Watch the video, and discover more.

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Smart Grids for Smart Cities: Towards Zero Emissions

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