The Active House – we test real consumer power

We believe that most of us would like to help make the world a more environmentally friendly place. Here in Sweden, for example, we’re good at using public transport and we’re also good at recycling bottles, cans and garbage. And we’re probably good at these things because it’s easy to use buses, trams and subways, and to recycle. We simply have good systems for it.

The idea of the Active House in Stockholm Royal Seaport is to let us do research on how to build a smarter system for electricity usage at home. How do we get smart devices to start when there is a low load in the grid? Or when there is a lot of weather dependent electricity production in the system? Will we change the way we use electricity if we can see how much it costs? Or what kind of electricity there is a lot of at the moment? One thing we want to test is if a so-called carbon dioxide signal will work.

Home, smart home

The Active House will soon welcome 150 typical families into untypically smart apartments. Because in these apartments there will be a lot of things that can make it easier to change the way you use electricity. There will be smart plugs that can turn off machines in stand-by mode or switch off lights when they aren't used. There will be smart thermostats that can lower the temperature when you sleep or when you are away. And there will be smart washing machines, dryers and ev-chargers that can be set to start when electricity is cheap. Or when there is a lot of clean electricity in the system.

Every family will have a tablet that shows how much electricity they’re using, how much it costs and how much carbon dioxide the usage is generating – right now or on a yearly basis. The tablet also lets them make the settings they find best for their electricity usage. And when monitoring all this, we will learn as much as possible, to find out what changes are needed to make it even easier to be energy smart.

Together we learn more

During the research project we will also talk to each family about what it’s like to live in the Active House – has it made them more interested in energy and the environment and have they changed the way they use electricity? What can we do better?

We believe that more consumer power is an important factor in the energy systems of the future. And through behavioural research we’ll find better ways to make use of it. In order to make as simple to use electricity in smart way at home, as it is to recycle a bottle.

Goals

We want to study the possibility of moving electricity usage to hours of low load and/or high percentage of energy coming from renewable sources in the power system, by letting end users act on price and CO2 information.

We want to see if it’s possible to reduce CO2 emissions by 30%, compared to regular households, on a system level.

And we want to study how visualizing electricity usage will affect the attitudes and behaviour of the families living in the Active House.

 

2015-05-26