Energysense connects households, research and innovation, and collects data on energy use, attitude and behavior with 10 000 households in the Netherlands. Energysense provides this data to researchers from the University of Groningen and the Hanze University of Applied Sciences who investigate the energy transition. A growing number of other universities and research centers are involved as well. Energysense also facilitates the testing and development of innovations in households, in the form of energy products and services that contribute to energy savings and efficiency.
Energysense is a high-quality knowledge infrastructure that will grow to include data from thousands of households. By focusing on households as a combination of residents and dwellings, Energysense offers a unique approach that makes the combined study of both social and technological change possible. Energysense provides a shared object of study for researchers from different disciplines. It therefore creates an invaluable opportunity for multi-disciplinary collaboration. Energysense is open-ended and set up for a minimum of 5 to 10 years. This longitudinal set up will furthermore enable research into long-term effects and societal trends. Such a combination of rich data collection over a long period is an exceptional resource
Longitudinal and interdisciplinary
The longitudinal approach of Energysense enables the analysis of change over time. This means that a variety of kinds of changes can be studied (hotspots as well as slow shifts). Many studies of households and users focus on evaluation of interventions (new energy technologies, new pricing systems, new kinds of feedback) and follow users for a short period, often simply using a pre/post-test approach. Many studies have been pursued around a specific intervention, often with a duration varying between 3 and 18 months, with the intervention being typically 3-6 months. Energysense will offer the long term monitored representatives samples that has been called for, since this approach can offer strong generalizability Energysense will enable researchers to understand energy use in relation not only to kw/h but also to material, environmental and social dimensions, and to understand how these change over time.
Data and Methods
We collect data for Energysense, herefore we use the following methods.
Household as unit
In Energysense, households are the main unit for collecting data. As such, the household is the shared object that makes an interdisciplinary approach feasible, rich and powerful.
Smart meter P4 data is currently being collected for households that have a smart meter, and data for a subgroup is monitored via P1. P4 data is an hourly reading of gas and 15 minute reading of electricity meters. For households that do not yet have a smart meter, participants are asked to provide a reading of the meters.
The baseline survey is filled in by all household in Energysense. It is currently being reviewed by the scientific board and a revised version will be implemented in 2016. Follow-up surveys will be implemented to monitor changes over time and allow for additional data collection.
Planning for growth of Energysense
The Energysense database infrastructure is able to store a diversity of types of data, and can be expanded as needed. For example, it can currently store sound files and transcripts, for researchers wishing to work with interviews. Upon review by the Scientific Board, specific topics will be addressed for projects in Energysense, and additional information will be gathered from households. This can be done via questionnaires, interviews, site visits, and at number of scales.
The project directly addresses important questions from the European Commission’s Strategic Energy Technology Plan on energy consumption behaviour and behavioural change and is relevant to the Dutch national research agenda and to the goals of the Dutch national Agreement on Energy for Sustainable Growth (Energieakkoord).
Energysense connects to broad expertise on energy research and innovation. It also has a Scientific Board, made up of leading researchers with a strong track record in interdisciplinary research, who guide the scientific development of the project and ensure proper use of the infrastructure and data. Energysense is based in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and has special affinity with the research theme Data Science and Systems Complexity. Energysense is also working with ongoing international projects that have a similar focus in order to ensure relevance, international visibility and comparability of data, among others LUKES, NATconsumers and GLAMURS.
To request datasets or to propose new data to be gathered, researchers should consult the page ‘Setting up research’ and can get in touch with our data manager. An overview of the data currently collected in Energysense will be available via this site in the Autumn of 2016.