Innovation That Matters

The technology uses smart meter data to build create fuel poverty risk maps | Photo source Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash

Identifying energy-inefficient homes with AI

An AI-powered platform helps energy companies and local authorities target energy efficiency funding to those most in need

Spotted: In the UK, fuel poverty is defined as either living in a home with an energy efficiency rating of band D and being left below the poverty line after paying for fuel, or spending more than 10 per cent of household income on fuel and having too little remaining to maintain an adequate standard of living. However it is defined, fuel poverty is growing.

Under the government’s ECO4 and Eco+ schemes, there are grants available to help retrofit the least energy-efficient homes to make them greener. However, this is not a bottomless pot of money, so it needs to be targeted at those most in need. Tech innovators UrbanTide have developed artificial intelligence-based software to help identify homes and areas with the poorest energy efficiency. The company’s uZero platform collects anonymised smart meter data combined with data from other sources to produce detailed fuel poverty risk maps.

The goal of uZero is to make it easier for local authorities, housing associations, energy suppliers, and social care providers to identify areas in or at risk of falling into fuel poverty. These organisations can then target solutions such as retrofitting or energy support schemes to the most vulnerable households.

Simon Tricker, co-founder of UrbanTide, points out: “For many households, soaring energy costs will mean they feel the impacts of fuel poverty for the first time (…) At UrbanTide, we believe that using data technology and AI for good will be essential to supporting the UK through the fuel poverty crisis, and uZero is testament to this.”

Homes use a lot of energy, which is why improving energy efficiency is a key goal in the drive to net zero. Springwise has spotted a company working to electrify homes, and a ground source thermal system that is faster and cheaper to install than the alternatives.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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