Enhancing energy efficiency through smart control: paths and policies for deployment




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Peer reviewed



Smart devices and controllers are often proposed as an effective way to both minimise and optimise the timing of energy consumption in order to minimise the peaks in demand. A key component of the Smart Grid vision is the widespread use of such devices, advanced as a way to mitigate the intermittency of renewable energy generation which in turn is crucial to the decarbonisation of electricity supply.

In this paper, we focus on the use of smart controllers and the adoption of distributed renewable generation at household level as part of the transition from a conventional electricity grid to a Smart Grid. We utilise an Agent Based Model to investigate the effectiveness of both smart controllers and distributed generation in reducing household energy consumption, alone and in combination. We also investigate the possible paths to adoption of such devices and the interdependence of the case to adopt one on the other. Electricity consumption patterns for households in the model are heterogeneous and generated in accordance with data for the UK and initial adoption rates for distributed generation are calibrated from UK National data.

We illustrate the potential for smart controllers to alter demand patterns over time both with and without distributed generation. We show the effect of order of adoption of devices at the householder level on the energy consumption of their building, but also on consumption at a larger scale and highlight issues for policy makers designing policies intended to incentivise a transition towards smart control of energy demand.



smart grid, control and monitoring devices, socio-technical, microgeneration, behaviour, patterns of energy use


Snape, J.R., Boait, P. (2013) Enhancing efficiency through smart control: paths and policies for deployment. In: Energy efficiency first: The foundation of a low-carbon society - Proceeding of eceee 2013 Summer Study. eceee 2013 summer study. Belambra Presqu’île de Giens, France: ECEEE, pp. 1173–1182


Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)