Smart Energy Research Lab Stats Report 2 Published

18 Apr 2024

A new report from the UKRI/EPSRC funded Smart Energy Research Lab (SERL) based at University College of London has been released. The report describes domestic gas and electricity energy use in Great Britain in 2022 and 2023 based on data froms the SERL Observatory, which consists of smart meter and contextual data from approximately 13,000 homes. The 13,000 homes are broadly representative of the GB domestic building stock along a range of geographic, building and socio-demographic characteristics.

Key findings

The report found that homes built between 1900 and 1929 used an average of 33% more gas per square metre of floor area than homes built since 2003, even though they used comparable amounts of electricity, highlighting the increasing insulation efficiency of modern homes.

Homes over 200 square metres used more than four times as much energy than homes smaller than 50 square metres. However, while larger homes used more gas for heating than smaller homes overall, they averaged to be slightly more efficient per square metre of floor area. This is in part because larger homes tend to have less surface area from which to lose heat for a given volume.

Additionally, detached houses used on average 6% more gas per square metre but 3% less electricity per square metre than terraced houses.

Lead author Dr Jessica Few (UCL Energy Institute) said: “It’s very exciting to be able to see from our data how energy use is distributed among Great Britain’s households. We hope the report and data released for the first time will be useful to researchers and policymakers looking to tackle the big societal issues we face.”

Factors affecting energy usage

The report covers 2021 through 2023, a period of time that saw significant disruption to the UK energy markets. This included the third national Covid-19 lockdown between January and March 2021, unprecedented rises in energy prices influenced by Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and a period of general inflation over 10% between September 2022 and March 2023.

In a further piece of analysis using the SERL data, the team found that gas and electricity use were higher in winter 2021/2022 before high energy costs hit the market, with consumers ultimately reducing their gas usage by 12% and electricity usage by 7% by winter 2022/2023.

The report – Volume 2 of the SERL Statistical Reports Series – provides an update to the statistics provided in Volume 1 of the SERL Statistical Report Series (Few et al., 2022), which covered 2021 data, and analyses residential energy use in GB in 2022 and 2023 (over the whole year, in each month and half-hourly over the course of the day).