Oxford’s Meter survey to provide insights for a net-zero carbon future

Joy meter diagram
The survey will throw light on household energy consumption, while also revealing the impact of social distancing

The current social distancing, to protect people from catching and spreading the corona virus, presents a perfect opportunity to capture unique data. By studying one day’s data from thousands of UK households, the research team will be able to see how we can make better use of renewables and spread the load during peak times to be more energy efficient.

The dedicated app is easy-to-use and participants need only to record 25 activities during a day – and it will provide invaluable data on energy use in the home.  To encourage participation, one participant will receive a year’s free electricity to a maximum of £1,000.

Dr Phil Grunewald, Deputy Director of Energy Research at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, says: ‘Today is Earth Day and by taking part in this survey you can help our understanding of energy usage. Right now, with so many people in lockdown, we need more electricity at home, while national demand is at a record low. This is a unique opportunity to understand trends in energy usage and how they could change towards a net-zero carbon future.’

Backed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, researchers are particularly interested in data from the unique circumstances of the lockdown and are hoping to capture this through dedicated questions.

The survey will throw light on household energy consumption, while also revealing the impact of social distancing by tracking the movements and attitudes of participants and comparing these with 20,000 records collected over the past three years.

To contribute to the study this Earth Day, participants can download the app or visit the website and register at  https://www.joymeter.uk

If you have a smart meter, the researchers can also access data directly from there. Find out more about the app here. See the team’s video here.

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