What is the DEFACTO project?

DEFACTO is a six year project conducted by Loughborough University that is examining the way that hundreds of households heat their homes.  It will investigate how the use of digital control technologies enable reduction and management of  energy use. The project is funded by the RCUK’s Energy Programme (£1.5million) and will continue until 2018.

Background context:

In the UK 36% of gas and electricity is used in homes of which 66% is for space heating and hot water provision. Digital technology has the potential to provide households with feedback on their heating energy use and an ability to control where and when energy is used, however it is unknown how much energy digital technology devices will save and in which households they will work best.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Understanding of the effectiveness of feedback & control devices for reducing energy demand
  • Improvement of the design of control devices
  • Understanding of the changes in energy demand and internal temperature
  • Quantification of errors in energy savings predictions and  models

Research plans:

Pilot 1:

  • Two identical test houses
  • Saving potential of new control technology tested with simulated occupancy

Pilot 2:

  • 12 houses co-located
  • New heating controls installed
  • Gas use, Electricity use, Internal air temperatures (in all rooms) and use of heating controls monitored over 18 months

Main Study:

  • 400 Semi-detached owner occupied homes across the Midlands, UK recruited
  • The gas and electricity use of the homes will be monitored
  • Air temperature of up to 10 rooms will be monitored in each house
  • 50 homes will have new digital heating controls installed that allow for zonal control of heating system
  • Homes will be monitored for up to 3 years