Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL)

Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL)
13th July 2017 Alison Parker

Domestic buildings


The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) have funded a five-year project to develop a Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL) to provide vital access to energy data for the UK research community.

Please note, this project was formerly known as the Smart Meter Research Portal (SMRP).

Project Summary

  • The Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL) will provide a secure, consistent and trusted channel for researchers to access high-resolution energy data, which will facilitate innovative energy research for years to come.
  • Data will be collected via SERL on a strictly voluntary basis. SERL data will only be collected with the explicit consent of households who have agreed to provide their smart meter data to SERL for research purposes.
  • Additionally, SERL’s strict governance framework will ensure that only accredited researchers will have access to anonymized data using established “5 Safes” protocols.

SERL Vision

Our vision is to deliver a world-leading multi-disciplinary research programme, facilitated by a smart meter data portal. The portal will transform UK energy research through the long-term provision of high quality, high-resolution energy data that will provide a reliable evidence base for intervention, observational and longitudinal studies across the socio-technical spectrum.

The goals of the lab are to provide:

  • A consistent, trusted, and sustainable channel for researchers to access large-scale, high-resolution energy data, thereby providing a reliable empirical dataset for research;
  • An effective mechanism for collecting energy data alongside other variables from national surveys (e.g. English Housing Survey) or individual research projects;
  • A confidential, ongoing repository of smart meter data enhanced with contextual dwelling, household and neighbourhood attributes for use in secondary data analysis;
  • An Energy Advice Service for consumers that request use of their smart meter data for this purpose.

The ambition of the research programme is to undertake research that will:

  • Support government policy;
  • Kick-start the development of new products, services and energy markets;
  • Help provide solutions to the energy trilemma (security, affordability and environmental sustainability);
  • Facilitate better research by developing best practice guidelines and methods to improve data security and enable innovative uses of smart meter data.

SERL will also develop best practice for using smart meter data, combining expertise in innovative data science techniques with novel approaches to EUED research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whose smart meter data will be collected by SERL?
SERL will collect smart meter data on a strictly voluntary basis – from households who have explicitly provided informed consent for their data to be collected by SERL and used for research purposes.

If my data is in SERL, will it be available for all to see?
Identifiable data from SERL will never be publicly available. Research using SERL data will be conducted using anonymised data accessible to accredited researchers only.

How will SERL ensure data privacy?
SERL will be fully compliant with the smart meter Data Access and Privacy Framework and abide by all the legal, technical, privacy and security obligations that are mandatory for parties to Smart Energy Code and DCC Users. Additionally SERL will have extra safeguards to ensure that only anonymised smart meter data can be accessed by accredited researchers using “5 Safes” protocols.

Where will SERL data be stored?
SERL data will be stored by the UK Data Archive using the same well-established data management and security procedures that they have in place for other sensitive research data.

How will SERL ensure that participants’ data is not misused?
Only ethical research demonstrated to be in the public interest will be permitted using SERL data. SERL will utilise a strict governance framework that builds on existing UKDA/ADRN processes, which include researcher assessment and mandatory training, so that both researchers and research projects will need to meet strict requirements to gain approval from the SMRP Data Access and Governance Board.

How will SERL collect smart meter data?
SERL will access smart meter data via the DCC Gateway. It will therefore be subject to the same extensive mandatory security, testing and compliance processes as other DCC Gateway users (such as energy suppliers).

Project Details

Project Duration: Mid-2017 to mid-2022
Project funding: £6m from EPSRC
Project Partners:

  • University College London
  • University of Essex (UK Data Archive)
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Cardiff University
  • Loughborough University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • University of Southampton
  • The Energy Saving Trust


Media Enquiries: Please contact Alexander Blackburn

Other Enquiries: Please contact Simon Elam