A picture of Stephen Kinsella at the Smart Lab launch
Professor Stephen Kinsella, SMARTLAB’s Principal Investigator and Head of the Department of Economics at UL
Thursday, January 19, 2023

An energy research project led by University of Limerick is offering the opportunity for people in Limerick to install free smart sensors to monitor and reduce building energy use. 

The research, led by principal investigator Professor Stephen Kinsella and funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, is part of the SMARTLAB project which adopts a living lab approach to examine financial and technical barriers to the use of smart technologies in Ireland’s buildings.

The initiative will test new ways to make buildings smart-ready so they can better respond to the needs of occupants, cost less to run, and be ready to interact with a future decarbonised energy grid.

Local building owners and occupants are invited to join the project, receiving free energy monitors and environmental sensors to install in their buildings, and free expert analysis of how healthy and energy efficient their building currently is.

Up to 100 building owners and occupants in Limerick city will be installing sensors provided by SMARTLAB to monitor their building’s temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels.

The project team will support participants to understand far more about how their buildings use energy, giving them more power to lower energy costs and make good decisions about their building’s future.

“This is a cutting-edge project that places Limerick at the forefront of collaborative approaches to empowering smart energy citizens,” says Professor Kinsella, SMARTLAB’s Principal Investigator and Head of the Department of Economics at UL.

“We are looking forward to working with people in Limerick city centre to explore how they can use smart sensor technology in their buildings and be part of the clean energy transition. The knowledge we develop together will be shared widely with policymakers at national and international levels.”

“Energy research and innovation are central to accelerating Ireland’s sustainable energy transformation,” said Kerrie Sheehan, Head of Research and Technology at SEAI.

“SEAI is committed to paving the way for breakthrough solutions, through support for research projects like the SMARTLAB project led by University of Limerick. We look forward to the learnings and insights that this innovative and engaged research project can bring to drive energy demand reduction.”

Ruth Kerrigan, Chief Operating Officer for project partner IES R&D Ltd, said: “SMARTLAB will give people a chance to see how their buildings can operate more effectively, and how they can make quick wins to reduce energy consumption through behaviour and simple measures.

“IES will develop solutions to help end users quickly and easily reduce energy with a target reduction of 10% on average across all the pilot buildings within the project.”

Rosie Webb, Head of Climate Action Innovation at Limerick City and County Council said: “As we embark on preparing a Climate Action Plan for Limerick it is important that we empower owners and occupiers to understand how they can reduce their energy use immediately by using sensor data through behavioural change in the first instance and then energy retrofitting subsequently. This project will provide participants an opportunity to explore where the best opportunity lies.”

The project was launched at the Citizen Innovation Lab, a collaborative space hosted by Limerick City and County Council and the University of Limerick at the UL City Centre Campus.

The Lab space with Fab Lab Limerick will host drop-in sessions for anyone who would like to talk to the team on Thursday, January 26, 1pm-2pm and 5.30pm-6.30pm.  

For more, see here.