Birmingham, U.K. --- (METERING.COM) --- January 25, 2011 - Participants in a recent energy saving trial in the U.K. Midlands saved an average 46 kWh of electricity over the 12 week trial, with some participants saving up to 40 percent of their energy usage.

Further over the trial period, the homes taking part in the trial saved over 10 tonnes of CO2, according to a statement on the project.

The trial, which was run by run by Digital Birmingham and the Family Housing Association as part of the European Union funded Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) initiative, installed energy monitoring devices in 49 homes. These so-called DEHEMS smart meters monitor usage overall, with some homes having socket monitors which can measure the usage of individual appliances, and send the data to a PC dashboard, where it can be monitored by the user.

As well as the DEHEMS meter, residents taking part in the trial were given “Green Doctor” training designed to change their behaviour and encourage efficient energy usage.

After monitoring their results for just one week, the average household in the Birmingham trial cut their energy usage by eight percent. Research at the end of the 12 week trial showed that the number of people always turning off their lights when they leave a room, unplugging chargers from the mains, never leaving appliances on standby and boiling just enough water for one person when they use a kettle had, on average, doubled over the period.

Further, research following the project revealed that two thirds of the participants believed environmental concerns were now as important to them as cost when making energy decisions.  Over 80 percent said that having the meter installed helped them understand their energy use more.

“The interesting thing is people’s understanding that being greener and more environmentally responsible doesn’t just help save the planet, it can save money for the individual as well,” said Heike Schuster-James, Digital Birmingham’s  program and business manager.

In financial terms some households saved as much as £35 per month on their energy bills.

The DEHEMS project now enters stage three which includes the installation of a gas meter to enable residents to monitor their gas consumption for the first time and get a more rounded picture of their total household energy usage.

In addition to Birmingham the DEHEMS initiative is also working with homes in Manchester and Bristol as well as in Bulgaria.