Make your city more liveable and sustainable: Ask, learn and share about energy, ICT and mobility!

REPLICATE Site Bristol

Country & City

  • United Kingdom
  • Bristol


Contact Information

Helen Manchester
University of Bristol
United Kingdom

With its 442 500 inhabitants and the title European Green Capital 2015, Bristol is named alongside London as the UK’s smart city leaders. As part of the REPLICATE project, Bristol will deploy a number of smart integrated energy, mobility and ICT solutions in the neighbourhoods of Ashley, Easton and Lawrence Hill. The pilot will explore how technology could help tackle inequalities, such as how smart homes could help ease fuel poverty, and how electric bikes could help people to be more active and have more choice on how to travel. The project will contribute towards Bristol’s ambition to be carbon neutral and run entirely on clean energy by 2050.

* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

Led by Bristol City Council and partners, the Bristol pilot aims to explore how smart technology could be used to:

  • reduce the cost, and amount, of energy consumed to help tackle fuel poverty;
  • use more local clean renewable sources of energy to increase local resilience;
  • enable greater sustainable mobility to increase health and wellbeing, as well as enable better access to training and employment;
  • engage citizens in their energy use and travel patterns to enable them to make the changes they want;
  • contribute to an overall aim to significantly help towards reducing the city’s CO2 emissions.

Regulatory & Administrative

Regulatory & Administrative
Encountered barriers
United Kingdom

There were a number of unexpected changes to renewable energy subsidies and housing policy taken in the United Kingdom after the project was launched. This impacted on projects linked to the REPLICATE project in Bristol and particularly affected the business case on which the original district heating scheme was based, making the proposal no longer viable. The first significant policy change was the reduction in rent revenue from the Council’s social housing, meaning that there was significantly less funds available to convert housing blocks from electric heating to a ‘wet’ system. This work was required for the original proposal.

The result of this was a significant negative impact on the Council’s Housing Business Plan and, as a consequence, the project had to undertake a major review of all spending to make the necessary cuts to expenditure. 

United Kingdom

The second important legislative change was the 45 % reduction in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) subsidy for this type of biomass boiler, thus making many projects no longer viable.

As a result, the project had to generate a new proposal around district heating that involved augmenting and connecting several existing heat networks in the same district, rather than creating an entirely new one.

Best Practices

Best Practices


United Kingdom

Involving owners and tenants is key to ensuring buy-in and permission to carry out the retrofit and smart homes in the first place. This will be done by trusted local professionals, as well as a website and dedicated phone lines detailing the financial and environmental benefits. During the pilot, tenants/owners will be able to see how much they are saving financially and what the environmental benefits are through smart home technology.

United Kingdom

An in-depth citizen engagement plan has been developed for all of the interventions in Bristol. This involves road shows, demonstration homes, local champions and regular meet-ups to troubleshoot problems (particularly with the smart home pilot).




United Kingdom

Smart home technology is still a relatively new technology and integrating this with a wider Energy demand management system provides a number of challenges including most significantly the current differences in compatibility across the range of smart devices and ICT infrastructure.

United Kingdom

There are a number of administrative challenges around electric vehicles and charge points, including:

  • being able to grant parking permits for electric vehicles whilst keeping non-electric vehicles out. This is still being worked through;
  • the backlog of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for major infrastructure projects, which is impacting on the progress of the Bristol pilot. The pilot is currently tolerating this delay;
  • the many old streets that have narrow pavements so are not suitable to have an electric vehicle charge point for health and safety reasons. To overcome this, a design for a connecting ‘island’ for the charge point was commissioned;
  • It is difficult to predict the likely spread of electric vehicles, which makes matching the infrastructure to coincide with the rollout also challenging.

* Detailed information regarding the technical and financial performance will be available at a later stage.

The solutions demonstrated in Bristol are:

Energy efficiency in buildings

  • Retrofitting the building envelope
    • 240 households, including 150 smart homes (20 400 m²).

Energy systems integration

  • District heating and cooling
  • Biomass boilers
  • Smart street lighting
  • Photovoltaics
    • PV will be installed both on residential and community scale
Mobility & transport: 
  • Clean fuels and fuelling infrastructure
  • Electric, hybrid and clean vehicles
    • E-bikes, electric car club vehicles, an on-demand electric mini-bus service and electric vehicle charging points in the district
  • Neighbourhood energy management system
    • The energy management system will work at city level.
  • Smart electricity grid
  • Urban data platform
  • Travel demand management
  • Strategic urban planning
  • Mobile applications for citizens
    • Travel planning and parking apps

SRT data