IBM is teaming with energy consultant Hildebrand to help UK consumers make informed decisions about energy consumption with IBM data management software.

As part of this effort, citizens and companies are working together to make more efficient use of energy by collecting, storing and analyzing detailed energy usage information in real time from homes across the UK.

According to IBM, the Hildebrand monitoring system enables real-time analysis of electricity usage for households, or even for individual appliances, to help people make better decisions about energy efficiency in the home and minimize their environmental impact.

Hildebrand received funding from the Seventh Framework Program for EU Research (FP7) for a 30-month research project that will allow stakeholders from local authorities, private businesses and universities to study energy monitoring and its effect on human behavior.

The Hildebrand project involves installing small, low-cost energy monitoring devices at groups of homes in five European cities: Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester in the UK, and Plovdiv and Ivanovo in Bulgaria.

Each of these groups form a ‘living lab’, giving the researchers access to real-world energy usage data, and allowing them to study the behavior of individuals and their attitudes towards energy management.

Homeowners can access this information online in a simple format that displays their electricity usage and perform analytics, such as calculating costs against the users’ electricity tariff, or comparing their usage to the average for their group.

The end result is that people can make more informed decisions about energy management and change their behavior in order to reduce electricity bills and minimize their environmental impact, IBM said.

Guido Bartels, general manager of Energy & Utilities at IBM, said: “Giving citizens more information and better control over their energy use will cut down on costs and consumption as well as reduce their overall impact on the environment.

“With this collaboration, we can demonstrate how smart and connected communities can be more energy conscious and in turn, more sustainable.”

IBM has also said that the city of Amsterdam is using its software to help 500 Amsterdam households cut energy bills and reduce CO2 emissions. This is part of the Amsterdam Smart City initiative in which citizens, governments and companies are working together to make efficient use of energy, water and mobility to create a more sustainable city.