The collection of detailed data for undertaking research into the area of residential energy efficiency has become common and yet many pitfalls and issues can arise during the collection process that can either result in loss of data, incorrect data or no data at all. The LIEEP program saw many projects collecting data in the field or from third parties that was crucial in the evaluation of the effectiveness of their project. However, many suffered from data issues that then lead to difficulties at the analysis stage of their project.
This paper explores various issues around data collection, particularly focusing on data that is used for assessing the energy efficiency performance of residential dwellings. It will draw upon the experiences from one LIEEP project that collected a large amount of data including electricity and gas consumption data, temperature data, energy utility data and survey data. Determining what to collect, how to collect, maintenance and monitoring of equipment and the final storage and analysis of data will be discussed.
Finally, the paper will look at how the data collected can be used. This includes linking the various data sets, visualising the data and providing analysis of the data back to clients and volunteer households themselves. Collection of data is critical to many research projects, but issues with data are almost inevitable. Trying to minimise these issues through careful planning and collection of data should also be a critical part of the research agenda.