Northern Powergrid launches app that encourages customers to save energy
The UK’s Northern Powergrid has launched an app that encourages customers to consume less energy through incentives.
The app has more than 2,000 customers using it in a bid to win cash prizes by accumulating points which are earned by turning off devices such as washing machines, televisions, and lights.
The app is currently being trialled following its development by gamification experts, GenGame, and the help of Newcastle University.
Each user of the app is notified at peak times and encouraged to reduce electricity consumption.
The average energy saving per user is 11% or 305W, although some users have saved as much as 4.9kW.
“Household electricity use will grow significantly as electric vehicles and heat pumps become mainstream, increasing demand on the network,” stated Andrew Webster, Innovation Project Manager of Northern Powergrid.
“Mobile games offer a fun solution to help manage this demand, rewarding our customers for reducing their consumption at peak periods.”
“If we see an increase in electric vehicles in one area we could just run a GenGame and reward people for charging their car when there is spare capacity on the network. As long as the incentive costs less than upgrading the local network, we have a winner.
“We are working with customers in the way they want and we now have more than 2,000 people signed up and active as flexibility providers.”
“This is a much more dynamic approach for a more dynamic world. It creates a personal connection which we could also explore for other purposes such as fault reporting and energy saving advice.”
Northern Powergrid supplies electricity to 3.9mn homes businesses in the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.