Journal Article

Enhancing user engagement in local energy initiatives using smart local energy engagement tools : a meta-data study


Deploying smart local energy engagement tools (SLEETs) in local energy projects enables users to better observe and control energy, and potentially become active participants in local energy management. Using a cross-project approach, this paper examines the prevalence, effectiveness and inclusiveness of 84 SLEETs deployed in 72 local energy projects in the UK from 2008 to 2018. An original framework for the characterisation of SLEETs was employed, which grouped them into seven types and characterised them in terms of their level of interaction and interface design. Our study shows that information-driven tools were the most popular in community energy groups, while digital energy platforms or interaction tools with numeric interfaces were the most popular in smart local energy system (SLES) initiatives. In contrast, interaction tools with visual interfaces, and tools offering control were found to be less popular. Spatial analysis revealed that SLEETs were mostly deployed in areas with grid constraints (technology), active community energy groups (people) and engaged local authorities (policy). Effective SLEETs were found to stimulate engagement amongst people (social engagement), and between people and technology (operation and control), while inclusive SLEETs enabled the inclusion of vulnerable and low-income households. The acceptance and implementation of SLES initiatives can be enhanced by creating effective and inclusive SLEETs that align with local users’ requirements and are supported by local stakeholders in order to foster trust. In future, there is a need to develop appropriate metrics (key performance indicator) or scoring methods to measure the prevalence, effectiveness, and inclusiveness of SLEETs in a consistent manner.

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Gupta, Rajat
Zahiri, Sahar
Morey, Johanna

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Architecture


Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-03-27

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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