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Asset Guide: Living Lab


The Living Lab is a 100-homes test environment for businesses to trial new heat products and services with people in homes upgraded with room-by-room sensors and smart heating controls. Producing a wealth of data, Energy Systems Catapult experts help innovators rapidly design, market-test and launch smart energy products and services.

The Challenge and Opportunity

Since 2016, Energy Systems Catapult has been developing unparalleled insights into running energy service trials in real-world homes, undertaking detailed analysis of the vast array of consumer and technical data captured. The Living Lab is made up of 100 homes spread across Newcastle, Manchester, South Wales and the West Midlands. They are all owner-occupied with a range of building types and occupancy. Homes have been equipped with a range of sensors and controls, connected to a cloud-based digital platform, to help you better understand how people use energy and their preferences for services and products. Some homes have air source heat pumps installed alongside gas boilers, the rest have gas boilers. We also have smart meter integration. Uniquely, you can market-test smart energy services through our digital, online marketplace. As these are real homes, we will offer your service or product to residents in a market trial – a great way to find out if people like your offer and what they might be willing to pay for it.

Our Approach

The Living Lab is  open for businesses this winter to trial how to sell energy as a service or new heat products with real consumers. Industry has been talking about energy as a service for years, but few companies have developed a market proposition – the Living Lab changes that. Supported by our experts you can quickly test different propositions in real homes.

Energy services companies can learn:

  • who buys your service offering and why (and who doesn’t and why not) including consumer demographics
  • how much consumers are willing to pay for your service and how they use it, and
  • what it costs you to serve them.

If you are developing or selling products, we can offer them to real homes and learn about how consumers use them.

Energy product companies can learn:

  • what consumers like about your product and how much they are willing to pay
  • insights into how consumers use your product
  • how your product performs in a real-world home environment (eg. how fast does it warm rooms up, is it cheaper/better with your product than before, what is the overall impact on homes and consumers).

We want to accelerate your innovation from idea to impact with the least effort. To help you we have a range of additional services, such as:

  • online market research
  • energy service design
  • data exploration and analysis
  • data science support/algorithm development
  • policy and regulatory advice.

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