Project Data

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Guidelight enhances understanding of Low Carbon Technology (LCT) usage, reducing adoption barriers and supporting smart energy practices. The project ensures equitable participation in the energy transition, avoiding financial penalties. The Open Access Toolkit promotes customer self-reliance, fostering community connection. It optimises LCT performance, lowers energy bills, and enhances financial skills for an improved quality of life.

What is the project about?

Guidelight tackles a critical challenge in the energy sector’s move to Net Zero by recognising the diverse needs of energy consumer. Many low-income households lack the skills for utilising low carbon technology services like time-of-use tariffs and digital tools, despite initiatives such as the Green Homes Grant. This gap in guidance and support not only hinders smart energy practices but can also result in financial penalties, impacting customer vulnerability and straining energy networks.

Guidelight has evolved through a Discovery Phase, recognising the urgency for an integrated approach to energy retrofitting. It combines technological innovations with an understanding of household practices, resulting in the development of an Open Access Toolkit of socio-technical Interventions. This toolkit, collaboratively designed with a Community Research Group (CRG), including installers, local authorities (LAs), social housing providers, and vulnerable households, aims to provide comprehensive support and guidance throughout the retrofit lifecycle.

During the Discovery Phase, active engagement with stakeholders and energy communities highlighted six key challenges, including unclear messaging, distrust of grants, limited familiarity with LCTs, insufficient information, inadequate consideration of vulnerabilities, and a lack of comprehensive follow-up guidance. Leveraging insights from relevant projects like Socially Green, the upcoming Alpha phase will focus on addressing digital exclusion and overcoming these challenges. Guidelight’s mission is to enhance coordination between energy networks, stakeholders, and utilities, narrowing the gap between consumer segments and ensuring an inclusive transition to smart energy practices.

How we’re doing it

Guidelight ensures everyone can benefit from the Net Zero transition by shaping guidance and support for LCT retrofit programs collaboratively. The project relies on Strategic Innovation Funding (SIF) to coordinate with utilities and stakeholders for a comprehensive support system. SIF enables whole-system collaboration, making LCT adoption more inclusive and advancing the energy transition more efficiently.

In the Alpha phase, Guidelight builds on Discovery collaborations, Centre for Sustainable Energy, University of Southampton, Portsmouth City Council, Somerset Council, and London Borough of Hackney, adding new partners like SSEN, Utilita Energy, and Sia Partners for their expertise in supporting vulnerable customers. The diverse partnership, including two Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), three Local Authorities (LAs), an energy supplier, a university, and a consumer data specialist, instills confidence in Guidelight’s scalability for BAU.

The project plan outlines key work packages and milestones:

  • WP1: Technical Monitoring Approach
  • Objective: Analyse the feasibility of technical monitoring approaches for LCTs.
  • WP2: Social Engagement Approaches: Design, development, and testing
  • Objective: Explore and develop strategies, including gamification, to enhance uptake, engagement, and behavior change.
  • WP3: Open Access Toolkit
  • Objective: Design a collaborative Open Access Toolkit aligned with customer and stakeholder requirements.
  • WP4: Process Flows and Route to Market
  • Objective: Align with network operator requirements and plan the commercial rollout.
  • WP5: Project Management
  • Objective: Ensure the successful delivery of the project.

Guidelight’s approach emphasises collaboration, inclusivity, and strategic planning to facilitate effective LCT adoption and drive the energy transition.

What makes it innovative

Guidelight is a groundbreaking project tackling crucial issues in local retrofit programs. With gaps in guidance and tools for local authorities, installers, and vulnerable customers, there’s a risk of neglecting 1.58 million households by 2030. The project innovates in four key areas:

  1. New Tools to Overcome Barriers: Guidelight introduces an Open Access Toolkit, co-designed with representatives from vulnerable households and others, offering intuitive visualisations ofLCT performance. This toolkit provides personalised support and comprehensive templates for post-installation assessments.
  2. Behavioral Science-based Social Research: Using smart sensors, Guidelight employs behavioral science in social research to better understand how vulnerable customers interact with LCTs, enhancing their participation in the Net Zero transition.
  3. Data-Driven Approach for Digital Inclusion: Guidelight uses a data-driven approach, currently in Beta, to tackle digital exclusion. Monitoring devices collect valuable data, informing tools for local authorities, customers, and installers to ensure maximum LCT benefits in each household.
  4. Socio-Technical Engagement for Better Performance: In Alpha, Guidelight combines technology with an understanding of household practices. Customised methods, including simplified warnings, additional sensors, and smart advice protocols, enhance LCT performance for all vulnerable households.

Guidelight’s innovative approach not only addresses current challenges but also promotes LCT adoption with an inclusive, trusted, and effective strategy throughout the retrofit lifecycle.

What we’re learning

By the end of the Alpha, Guidelight aims to complete the objective of each work package (Q7) and produce key outputs which will be disseminated effectively.


Outputs, responsible individuals and planned dissemination activities:

  1. Technical performance gap analysis: The methodological framework for understanding the technical performance gap of LCTs and the impact of technical monitoring approaches from feasibility analysis. (Responsibility: University of Southampton)
  2. Social research engagement strategies based on the Energy Cultures Framework (Responsibility: CSE)
  3. Socio-Technical Open Access Toolkit: The conceptual design of the socio-technical toolkit, which focuses on user-centered design and participation of vulnerable households (Responsibility: CSE to lead supported by individuals from UKPN and Sia Partners)
  4. Operating design and commercial solution design framework including process flows, data exchange, and stakeholder responsibilities (Responsibility: Sia Partners to lead supported by individuals from UKPN and CSE)
  5. Recommendations on regulatory and policy barriers based on the updated solution design (Responsibility: Sia Partners to lead supported by individuals from UKPN and CSE)
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