Gillian Anderson wanted to understand how much she was spending on her energy bills and decided to take part in the IDEAL research project to help her track her energy usage at home.

The research project

IDEAL is a home energy research project funded by the University of Edinburgh and managed by Changeworks. The IDEAL system is designed to measure energy usage and temperature within the home. It provides the householder with information about how much energy is being used and as well as energy saving tips to help reduce their usage and lower their bills. Gillian Anderson had the system installed in her Musselburgh maisonette in August 2017

What was involved

The installation involved having sensors attached to one of the walls in each room of her home. Sensors were also attached to the gas and electricity meters, as well as the pipes going into Gillian’s boiler. The information collected by the sensors is fed back to the University of Edinburgh via a base station that is connected to Gillian’s broadband. Gillian was given a tablet so that she could access the data and get a range of hints and tips to help her save energy and money. 

Saving money

Gillian is seeing a big difference now that she has information about her energy usage at her fingertips, making a saving of £116 on her energy bill in the last quarter compared to the previous year. Gillian said, “I never used to understand what my gas and electricity bills were telling me, but now I can open the App and find out exactly how much my energy cost me last week, or even right at this moment. It’s not just about how much energy, it’s about how much money I’m spending: I can see how much money I’ve been wasting all this time.

“It’s so fantastic. It’s a real wake-up call, because you get so used to doing things a certain way, and it can be costing a lot of money without you realising it. And it’s not until you see it that you understand how much money you’re wasting, and how much you can save.”

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