RiDC to Research Access to Sustainable Energy with Living Lab

Image shows a person's hand using a home energy device, on a wall at home
13 Jul 2021

Living Lab logoEnergy Systems Catapult logoRiDC, in partnership with Energy Systems Catapult, has been awarded almost £250,000 to research how disabled consumers can have greater access to sustainable energy.

Over the next two years, the Enabling Inclusive Innovation and Sustainable Choice project will involve members of our consumer panel in helping to develop innovative and accessible smart, low carbon energy products and services.

The funding is part of £2.2m in grants awarded under the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme, which distributes donations made by energy companies who may have breached regulations.  The Scheme funds projects which support energy consumers in vulnerable situations.

This project will add fifty disabled households from our panel to Energy Systems Catapult’s Living Laba ‘real world’ test environment where disabled and older people can trial ideas and developments in their own homes.  It allows innovators to rapidly design, market-test and launch smart energy products, services and business models. Our research will also include a series of insight and test evaluation projects including co-design workshops, accessibility and usability evaluations, and mystery shopping.

The findings from the project will then go on to inform consumer and policy decision-making.

“The energy transition to zero carbon must be inclusive and equitable, and that is unfortunately not what we have seen in much of our accessibility research into energy services and products so far."

"Our aim is to fill knowledge gaps on the barriers disabled and older people experience and identify emerging vulnerabilities. This project will play a big part in also enabling disabled households to use and test home energy products and services in their own home on a much more long-term basis. ”

“Successful innovation and inclusive design require a whole system approach and user involvement, and we look forward to working alongside the Living Lab and our consumer panel to develop action plans for the solutions to these issues.”

Caroline Jacobs, Head of Development at RiDC


Click here to read more about our smart home heating research