The integration of smart meter technology in UK homes is accelerating, with over 30.6 million smart meter installations already having been completed as of the end of Q1 (March) 2023. This accounts for over 57% of all domestic meters, including traditional meters.
Smart meters are part of a widespread metering infrastructure that is meant to ease monitoring of energy consumption and enable two-way communication with the supplier. The meter is often connected to the network via fixed cabling or wireless technology, often used for electricity in the deployment of smart grids, with water and gas meters also becoming more prevalent in recent years. At present, every home and office in England, Scotland and Wales will be offered a smart meter installation by mid-2025.
Smart meters directly influence greater energy preservation
This concerted push towards smarter energy use provides significant benefits for housing providers, landlords, and property managers looking to optimise energy efficiency. While homeowners and tenants get additional convenience and greater control over their everyday usage and keeping on top of finances, the top-level energy preservation benefits are also very apparent. Smart meters are estimated to save, on average, 3.4% of electricity consumption and 3% on gas annually.
From the perspective of UK energy and power providers, energy preservation is also of paramount importance. While end users primarily need to understand how their investments pay off in terms of financial savings, similar real-time tracking equipment can also serve valuable benefits for providers trying to optimise efficiency and maintain compliance. Emerging standards such as Dynamic Containment, introduced by the National Grid, have been designed to maintain a stable flow of power and balance when disturbances occur.
Ultimately, implementing domestic smart meters in homes across the country can empower residents with more control over their energy consumption, while providing valuable data insights for property managers. It’s already evident how smart technology itself is changing homeowners’ everyday lives and the ways in which we maintain and use the facilities in our homes. Ultimately, smart meters are just one component of an emerging and evolving technology that enables better energy preservation through analytics and real-time tracking.
Below we explore the top 5 ways that smart meters enhance a property’s energy efficiency:
1. Real-time energy monitoring
One of the core advantages of smart meters is that they provide real-time insights into energy usage rather than relying on estimated billing. Residents can view up-to-the-minute statistics on in-home displays, while service providers gain minute-by-minute energy reports, aided significantly by power quality monitoring equipment.
This granular tracking allows for a deeper understanding of consumption patterns. Property managers can pinpoint peak usage times and spots where excess wastage may be occurring. Residents are also more informed about the impacts of their behaviour, inspiring them to be more conservative in their energy consumption.
Studies show homes with smart meters reduce consumption by kilowatts. This significant energy preservation stems from heightened awareness of the real-time tracking offered by smart electricity and gas meters.
2. Remote readings
Traditional analogue energy meters require manual in-person reading by technicians to obtain usage data. This leads to billing delays and estimates between readings which in turn, means money owed and credit balances take longer to reconcile.
Smart meters allow for automated remote reading, providing frequent precise meter readings without the need for property access, which is handy for landlords who oversee rental properties with no tenants. This regular automated data enables accurate billing and fewer estimations.
With some smart meter systems, readings can be taken very regularly to provide highly accurate readings. This enables property managers to respond rapidly to anomalies suggesting leaks, outages or other issues. This remote and rapid response translates to less energy wastage.
3. Time-of-use monitoring
Smart meters grant visibility not just into how much energy is used, but specifically when power is taken from the designated supply. In turn, this allows property managers to analyse usage across different times of day and calculate averages.
Patterns may reveal significant energy consumption during peak hours, when electricity is more expensive. Property management firms can then motivate residents to shift non-essential usage to off-peak times or recommend alternatives to preserve excess waste energy.
This time-of-use monitoring and management can generate substantial cost savings, optimising when energy is drawn for maximum efficiency.
4. Enhanced outage reporting
Power outages cause immense hassles for residents, property managers, and energy providers. However, analogue meters provide little visibility into outage status.
Smart meters detect and report outages in real time, pinpointing affected properties. This allows for accelerated response and restoration of supply, reducing downtime. Some smart meter networks even support two-way communication, where meters can receive remote commands. This enables providers to tweak settings to optimise power quality during outages.
Overall, the enhanced outage detection and capabilities of smart meter infrastructure preserve energy reliability, and properties benefit from minimised blackout time.
5. Improved data for building planning
For housing developers and those involved in building design, smart meters grant valuable energy insights to inform planning. Reviewing granular usage data from existing smart metered properties allows patterns to emerge around peak load times and high consumption areas.
Data may also demonstrate that redistributing loads to different phases can create a more balanced consumption profile. Smart insights lead to smarter and more sustainable building designs, which are beneficial for ambitious property developers or landlords looking to expand and diversify their property portfolios.
The path forward
The integration of smart meter technology presents clear advantages for improved energy management across UK housing. Real-time usage visibility and enhanced control enable better energy efficiency.
Property owners and managers can leverage smart data insights to optimise their assets while encouraging more sustainable behaviours among residents. The granular analytics also help shape future-focused building plans.
With climate concerns intensifying, smart meters represent a critical step towards more intelligent and reduced energy usage across residential properties. Their prevalence will only continue expanding throughout the UK in the coming years as the country gravitates towards more concentrated sustainability initiatives and net-zero targets.