WICKED: Working with Information, Creation of Knowledge, and Energy strategy Deployment in non-domestic buildings

Turning data into actionable information to drive understanding of energy consumption drivers in the retail sector.

The retail sector is the largest commercial property sector and a vital part of the UK economy. Valued at over £300 billion, it accounts for one in 12 companies and employs one in nine working people. Businesses in the sector are diverse, ranging from multinational corporations to small independent stores. Across this diversity, the sector as a whole faces a number of challenges, including the global economic slowdown and the growing problem of energy management.

Innovative energy saving measures in non-domestic buildings- e.g., enhanced information due to sensors and meters; better management due to controls; and more efficient lights and HVAC equipment -could save 18 MtCO2 by 2020 and 86 MtCO2 by 2050, depending upon the rate at which the measures can be deployed. The deployment of energy efficiency technologies and management techniques depends on the physical conditions present in the existing building stock, as well as the ownership characteristics and management practices in each building. That is, adopting better technologies and practices depends on what fits, where, and for whom.

The Working with Infrastructure, Creation of Knowledge, and Energy strategies Deployment (WICKED) project uses a segmented socio-technical approach to work with and learn from different configurations of building energy data and ownership in the existing UK non-domestic stock. The project develops and implements the concepts of "data rich" and "data poor" to identify and map energy-related technical and organizational infrastructure, as well as barriers to and opportunities for change. Top-down analytics on large anonymized non-domestic data sets from energy provider partners will be combined with middle-out case studies of landlord and tenant fleets and bottom-up empirical work in SME buildings, focused predominantly on the retail sector. The project will use this information to engage with and co-create appropriate knowledge for different types and scales of stakeholders: owners, occupiers, landlords, tenants, and energy providers.

Through this knowledge and interaction, the project enables adoption of energy efficiency technologies and management techniques appropriate for each stakeholder segment. Based on our findings, our project will develop an action toolbox oriented towards the different needs of different market segments. Indicative innovative products to emerge from this work are: online energy advisor backed up by large data sets, "smart-er" technologies to retrofit legacy gas and electric meters, new forms of leasing agreements, and effective energy management procedures tailored for different stakeholder groups.

Analyzing this complex landscape and its many opportunities and challenges requires a broad based, problem-directed and interdisciplinary approach. The University of Oxford academic team brings together expertise in social and technical aspects of energy demand(Dr. Kathryn Janda and Dr. Russell Layberry), information technologies(Professor David Wallom), mathematics(Professor Peter Grindrod), engineering (Dr. Malcolm McCulloch), and law (Professor Susan Bright). Non-academic partners for this project are energy suppliers, retailers, local and national government stakeholders, landowners, tenants, and energy advice companies. These partners will leverage the EPSRC funding requested by the provision of data, management practices, lease agreements, test sites, and equipment.

Oxford e-Research Centre Contacts

Professor David Wallom and Mr Ramon Granell

Project website URL - http://www.energy.ox.ac.uk/wicked/