Low carbon technologies along with smart control have a role in residential demand side response (DSR) to shift the timing of household energy consumption away from peak times and align it with generation of renewable electricity. This paper empirically evaluates the impact of DSR trials on grid electricity import and resident experience regarding disruption to daily routines, thermal comfort and noise disturbance in 17 thermally efficient social housing dwellings (Barnsley, England). Four types of DSR trials were run through 22 interventions performed in March to April 2021. Each dwelling was equipped with a 5 kWh electro-chemical battery and air source heat pump, and all but one dwelling had solar photovoltaic (PV) panels (1.3–3.0 kWp). Interventions were applied against a flat (single) rate tariff as well as dynamic time-of-use tariffs. On average, secure turn-down interventions between 5 and 7 p.m. resulted in a reduction in grid electricity import of 1.2 kWh per household and a reduction in controllable load (heat pump plus battery energy) of 3.7 kWh per household. The batteries enabled 2.5 kWh per household of electricity to be exported to the grid for these interventions. On average, turn-up interventions between 1 and 3 p.m. resulted in an increase of 2.3 kWh per household in grid electricity import. Individual dwellings showed different levels of demand response depending on the levels and patterns of household electricity consumption.
The resident experience was evaluated by means of a series of telephone surveys. Householders were generally accepting of the trials in terms of changes in indoor temperature, hot water availability, noise disturbance and disruption to household routines. However, some general concerns were raised about the energy systems relating to indoor temperature, hot water temperature and energy costs. The general acceptability of automated DSR, conditional on thermal comfort limits and manual override, is promising for the wider application of residential DSR driven by price signals, although ongoing household engagement in DSR schemes will require a continued focus on the householder experience with training and support in using new technologies. A routine period of inspection should be employed to identify any issues with energy system issues ahead of DSR initiation.
School of Architecture
Year of publication: 2022Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-10-05