Australian households are desperate for advice about how to reduce their energy consumption, early feedback from a CSIRO led citizen science project designed to gain an insight into electricity consumption trends has shown.
About 2000 respondents have already provided details of their energy use via the Energise App in the first two weeks of the project, which is being coordinated at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle.
“There’s a real mix of people who really want to change their energy use but don’t have the capacity to do it at the moment,” project team leader Dr Adam Berry said.
“Although they have information available to them they don’t feel as though they can shift the type of energy use to easily reduce their bills.”
The app will follows users' responses over time and ask questions in response to specific events, like how air conditioning is used on hot days, and how that can then improve understanding and management of peak energy consumption.
Users are also provided tips on energy efficiency, about new research around energy usage, and short videos from scientists on how to be more energy aware.
The app is a key component of CSIRO's Energy Use Data Model project, which is collating, centralising and enhancing various streams of energy data.
Until now, this information has never been brought together, and the resulting platform will benefit researchers, government and industry.
“If we get a good understanding of the modern Australian energy consumer and what their energy world looks like then we can look at what actual pieces of practical advice we can give,” Dr Berry said.
“We might learn, for instance, that pensioners are well suited to a particular type of electricity tariff.”
CSIRO Energy Director Dr Tim Finnigan said that by taking part, households across the country will provide valuable data to support the science that will ultimately improve our national energy systems.
"We know the way Australians use energy is changing, but it's important for us to know how quickly, and what's driving that change," Dr Finnigan said.
"CSIRO Energise will help fill missing pieces of the puzzle with robust, objective data in areas where our knowledge is lacking. This will ensure that CSIRO can continue to drive the innovation that guides an affordable, sustainable and reliable energy system."
It is hoped the data will assist the government to forecast energy infrastructure requirements and investments and effective energy policies.
The app can be downloaded from the CSIRO website.