The purchase of sustainable energy products such as locally produced renewable electricity, photovoltaic systems or heat pumps are measures that allow consumers to make a significant contribution to transforming our energy systems. Yet the willingness of consumers to pay more for electricity or make energy-related investments is lagging behind what energy policy makers have expected. To counteract this problem, the SmartLoad project has developed data analysis methods that help energy retailers to promote such sustainable consumption behavior among their customers.
The project group of the University of Bamberg (Chair of Information Systems and Energy Efficient Systems), together with the two Swiss companies BEN Energy AG and Centralschweizerische Kraftwerke AG, has analyzed customer data, electricity consumption data and free geographic information. They developed a software that enables energy retailers to offer tailored tariffs and services. At the core of the solution are methods of machine learning, which automatically recognize patterns in data and enable targeted forecasts for individual customers. The solution was tested together with the energy utility in three use cases.
In the first application case, "energy efficiency", the research group showed that it is possible, for example, to identify households with high base load consumption and thus make targeted savings recommendations for consumers. For the two application cases "sales of local green electricity" and "sales of photovoltaic, battery storage systems, and heat pumps", sales activities were supported in such a way that particularly interested customers were identified.
The project was financially supported for 34 months as part of the ERA-Net SmartGrid Plus Initiative by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Germany) and the Federal Office of Energy (Switzerland).
March 1st, 2020
We are happy to welcome two new members to our team at FAU: Kathrin Schmitt and Prakhar Mehta! Kathrin studied Economics at the University of Mannheim. Prakhar holds a degree in Energy Science and Technology from ETH Zurich, and is a Climate-KIC Master Label Graduate.
Looking forward to working with you!
November 1st, 2019
In November, Leonard Michels joined as the first PhD student in the new B2E lab team in Nuremberg. He studied Human Decision Science at Maastricht University and psychology at the University of Tübingen. Welcome on board, Leonard!
August 20th, 2019
Liliane Ableitner successfully defended her PhD thesis "Information Systems to Empower Individuals in Realizing the Energy Transition: Design, Engagement, and Impact" at ETH Zurich on August 20th, 2019.
October 14th, 2019
Nature Energy has published a Policy Brief by Tiefenbeck, V., Wörner, A., Schöb, S., Fleisch, E., Staake, T., in which we discuss some of the implications of our recent studies. Please find the article here: nature.com
Nature Energy 4 (2019), p. 831-832
July 4th 2019
Dr. Verena Tiefenbeck, who is currently leading B2E Zurich, has been appointed professor at Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nürnberg (FAU). Congratulations!
She is opening a new site of the B2E lab there. Please check out our open positions at FAU!
June 27th 2019
Anna Kupfer successfully defended her doctoral thesis "Private Information Systems and Self-tracking: Status Quo and Usage Behavior" at the University of Bamberg on June 27th, 2019.
April 30th 2019
Konstantin Hopf successfully defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Bamberg on April 30, 2019. His work involved several projects of the Bits to Energy Lab and is summarized below:
Digitization causes large amounts of data in organizations (e.g., transaction data from business processes, communication data, sensor data). Besides, a large number of data sources are emerging online and can be freely used. Firms are looking for ways to commercialize this increasing amount of data and research aims to better understand the data value creation process. The dissertation answers five central research questions in this context and examines how machine learning (ML) can be used to create value from data, using case studies from energy retailing and energy efficiency. First, a systematic literature review gives an overview of firm internal and external data sources for potential analyses. Second, the importance of human cognition, theory, and expert knowledge in effective data preparation for ML is demonstrated. Third, current ML algorithms and variable selection methods are empirically compared using industry data sets. Implications for theory and practice are identified. Finally, the successful use of the information gained through ML is exemplified through case studies where increased energy efficiency, customer value, and service quality can demonstrate economic, environmental, and social value. Thus, this empirical work contributes to the so far rather conceptual discussion on value creation from big data in information systems research.
April 18th 2019
The Quartierstrom project, led by B2E lab with various partners, was featured on CNN Money Switzerland.
December 13th 2018
Sandro Schopfer successfully defended his PhD thesis with the title "Assessment of the consumer-prosumer transition and peer-to-peer energy networks" at ETH Zurich. Congratulations!
Nature.com has featured the article "Real-time feedback promotes energy conservation in the absence of volunteer selection bias and monetary incentives" by B2E researchers as Research Highlight. The article has appeared in Nature Energy and was covered by various media (including SPIEGEL ONLINE, heise.online, Scientific American, Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio, 20 minuten, metro, Nature Asia, and GEO) in at least 25 countries.
In a field experiment with six Swiss hotels, researchers from the Bits to Energy Lab showed that real-time feedback makes hotel guests slash their energy and water use in the shower. The results show that the approach works with a broad public – and even in settings where people have no financial motives for resource conservation. A free read-only version of the article is available here.
November 11th 2018
The Quartierstrom project, led by B2E lab with various partners, was featured in the Swiss news "Schweiz aktuell" on SRF.
July 9th 2018
Sanitary fittings manufacturer Oras Group invests in the ETH Zurich spinoff company Amphiro and buys the majority share. The deal brings together Amphiro’s know-how in energy autarkic sensors, cloud connectivity, data analytics, and user engagement with Oras’ faucet technology and market outreach. The joint goal is to expand the digital services business for drinking water installations. Amphiro’s entire team will stay on board, and Amphiro will expand its operations in Zurich.
About Amphiro: Amphiro has been founded in 2009 as the first Spinoff of the Bits to Energy Lab. The company has developed and brought to the market the most advanced IoT-Stack for drinking water applications. With more than 50,000 installations in the field and large pilot projects in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, and Spain, it has proven its technology and market success. With a strong partner that has a large number of established product lines, Amphiro can now multiply the use of its technology.
Oras Group is a European provider of sanitary fittings. It is market leader in Scandinavia and, together with its brand Hansa, number three in Continental Europe. The company’s mission is to make using water easy and sustainable. Oras Group employs approximately 1400 people in twenty countries. Oras Group is owned by Oras Invest, a family company and an industrial owner.
Anselma Wörner and Verena Tiefenbeck received the "Best Paper Runner Up" for their paper "The role of self-set goals in IS-enabled behavior change" at the European Conference on Information Systems in Portsmouth, UK.
The B2E researchers Liliane Ableitner, Verena Tiefenbeck, Samuel Schöb and Thorsten Staake and their co-authors from the University of Bayreuth (Sabïolla Hosseini and Gilbert Fridgen) received the "Best Paper" at the Workshop on Information Technologies (WITS) in Seoul, Korea, for their paper "Real-world impact of Information Systems: The effect of seemingly small design choices".
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