UrbanTide and Smart DCC: Energy Innovation Platform of the Year

UrbanTide and Smart DCC (Data Communications Company) have won edie’s Innovation of the Year: Software, Systems & Services Award for their innovative and AI powered data solution that can identify fuel poor homes in order to make big energy savings.

UrbanTide and Smart DCC: Energy Innovation Platform of the Year

At a glance:
Who: UrbanTide and Smart DCC
What: uZero AI energy data platform
When: Ongoing
Where: UK
Why: Provide better data for energy savings

The challenge 

Most homes in the UK have seen their energy bills increasing by up to 20% this year alone while the nation’s least efficient homes could face energy bills almost £1,000 than what the Government is targeting under its efficiency drive. This has left many wondering whether they can afford to heat their homes. 

The solution 

UrbanTide and Smart DCC (Data Communications Company) have partnered to create uZero. This innovative AI platform integrates anonymous smart meter data with cross-sector datasets to effectively identify fuel poverty areas, provide better-targeted support, pinpoint priority areas for retrofitting and improve the uptake of energy efficiency schemes. 

How it works 

uZero aims to create warmer, more comfortable homes for communities while substantially reducing household CO2 emissions. This is no easy task considering that ONS data found that the median energy efficiency rating for homes in England and Wales is ‘D’, which use 27% more gas and 18% more electricity than ‘C’ rated dwellings. 

uZero attempts to stop a scattergun approach to household support. It leverages data and AI to identify and provide targeted energy-efficiency support to fuel-poor households effectively. By seamlessly integrating anonymised smart meter system data with diverse cross-sector datasets, uZero employs innovative approaches to pinpoint and implement solutions that conserve energy and significantly reduce household CO2 emissions. 

This enables a targeted approach that can ultimately reduce the number of families residing in properties with inadequate energy efficiency measures, which can have a noticeable, tangible, large-scale impact on improving societal welfare, reducing and costs and catalysing carbon reduction effects. 

The results 

The impact of uZero can be extremely far-reaching. For example, the UK could reduce emissions by 670kg annually by introducing simple cavity wall insulation into inefficient and leaky homes. Additional carbon and cost savings can be generated by replacing a gas boiler with an air-source heat pump. uZero can provide the datasets and highlight the areas where these savings, and more, could be realised.  

The organisation: 

The DCC network features more than 22 million meters that are connected to Smart DCC’s secure network. 

The organisation has been independently certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust for the third year running, against the internationally recognised standard for carbon neutrality. 

The judges said: 

“17% of emissions comes from heating homes and over the last 12-18 months we’ve seen our energy bills increase significantly and larger proportion of the population live in fuel poverty and live in homes that suffer from damp and are adversely impacting our health. 

“uZero has taken a novel approach to tackling climate and social issues that are inextricably linked, can see real benefit being realised from the use of this tool and excited to see how it scales and is implemented more widely.” 

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