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  • What is the purpose of the study?
    The BREATHE project aims to balance energy supply and demand locally by using a smart control system to balance the flow of electricity from solar panels to smart batteries and air source heat pumps. The control system will optimise the system efficiency in terms of overall energy demand from the grid, particularly during peak demand times, and in terms cost to the occupants. To quantify the effectiveness of this system, the study will monitor energy use and indoor environmental conditions (temperature, relative humidity and CO2 concentration) before and after installation of the smart batteries and smart control system, as well as interviews with occupants to further understand conditions before and after.
  • What will happen to me if I take part?
    Some small, discrete and silent data loggers will be installed in your home (living room and bedroom) to monitor the indoor temperature, humidity and fresh air levels. These will need to be checked every 3-6 months on arrangement with you and removed at the end of the project. Electricity consumption of your home will be monitored, mainly by remote monitoring of the meters for your property and also with manual electricity meter readings. This will again with your prior permission. You will be asked to take part in a 15-20 interview discussing your experience with the solar panels and heat pumps, and your views on energy prices, climate change and the security of fuel sources, and a follow-up interview discussing your experience with the installed technologies (battery and smart control system). Some photographs will be taken of the monitoring devices and infrared images of relevant parts of your building will be taken using a thermal camera to detect possible heat losses.
  • What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?
    Although the monitoring devices are small, silent and unobtrusive, some require being plugged into the mains electricity at all times, thus depriving you of sockets for other devices. The energy consumption of these devices is extremely small, however. Participation in the study will also involve allowing access to your home once every 3-6 months to collect data from the monitoring devices, and some time commitment for the two interviews (approximately 15-20 minutes each).
  • What are the possible benefits of taking part?
    The findings from the project will be used to better understand domestic electricity consumption and the role of domestic storage in increasing self-consumption of distributed generation in order to give residents more control over their energy use and to reduce their electricity bills. You will also benefit from having a battery installed in your home, allowing you to store solar generated electricity to use later and reducing what you need to buy from the grid.
  • Will what I say in this study be kept confidential?
    Yes. All of the information collected in the interviews will remain confidential. All interviews will be anonymised. No information that could identify you will be included in any reports or publications. The collection, storage, disclosure and use of research data by the researchers will comply with the Data Protection Act (1998). All the information that we collect about you during the course of the research will remain strictly confidential. Access to the information will be restricted to the researchers directly involved in the project at all times, before, during and after the research activities. Please note that the confidentiality of information is subject to legal limitations.
  • What should I do if I want to take part?
    If you are interested in taking part in the BREATHE research project, click here to apply.
  • What will happen to the results of the research study?
    The results of the project will be published in academic journals and will also be presented at project meetings and conferences. An end of project event will also be organised for the case study residents to share the findings.
  • Who is organising and funding the research?
    The project is funded by BEIS UK and it is led by Energise Barnsley. The academic lead is Oxford Brookes University and the smart control system is being developed by Passiv Systems. Berneslai Homes are the housing providers in the project.
  • Who has reviewed the study?
    This project has been ethically approved through Oxford Brookes University’s ethics review procedure. Oxford Brookes University’s Research Ethics Committee (UREC) monitors the application and delivery of the University’s Ethics Review Procedure across the university.
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