HOMES across the south are set to be part of a multi-million-pound project to try to reduce household energy use.

The University of Southampton has secured £10m of funding, which will involve trialling a raft of energy-saving technology in Hampshire homes and being offered incentives to make long-term changes to their energy consumption.

That will include testing the impact of LED lighting, monitoring the efficiency of household appliances, staging awareness campaigns and providing community coaching to support homeowners in using less energy.

As well as potentially lowering domestic customers’ bills, the project is also investigating how reduced energy usage in the home can cut the amount that is required for electric network upgrades.

It is being run in conjunction with Southern Electric Power Distribution (SEPD) and other energy firms.

Professor AbuBakr Bahaj, head of the university’s Sustainable Energy Research Group, said: “This project, which builds on our research and track record in energy efficiency and data analysis, shows confidence in the overarching activities of the group in energy generation and demand reductions.

“It will support the utility company with quantifying customer needs and responses to a range of interventions that are geared to achieve energy efficiency in the homes and how these impact on investment in the utility infrastructure.”

Stewart Reid, SEPD’s future networks manager, said: “I have worked in the energy sector for over 30 years and have rarely seen such profound changes.

“This project has the potential to completely change the relationship between distribution network operators (DNOs) and their customers and come up with a valuable suite of tools for DNOs across the UK.

“This is an excellent result, not just for SEPD, but also for collaborators in the project such as Maingate Wireless, DNV GL and the University of Southampton, and for British distribution customers.

“It is also a fantastic opportunity for our customers and stakeholders in the Solent area to get involved in an innovative project.”

The project, called SAVE, will also see local authorities in the Solent area promote their Future Solent initiative, which aims to develop business opportunities and promote energy efficiency in homes through demand reduction and reliable low carbon generation.