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Dr. Sarah J. Darby

  • University of Oxford

Sarah Darby is acting leader of the Energy Programme (Lower Carbon Futures) at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, and an Associate Professor. The Energy Programme includes 16 researchers and knowledge transfer specialists, plus support staff and doctoral students. Their work focuses on distributed energy and includes the themes of Flexibility, Smart Systems and Everyday Life, and Energy Systems and Governance. Sarah holds a BSc in Ecological Science from Edinburgh University, a postgraduate Diploma in Planning from Oxford Polytechnic and a DPhil from Oxford University (Awareness, action and feedback in domestic energy use).  She is an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College, an evaluator for the Swiss Competence Centre for Research in Energy, Society and Transition, and on the editorial board for the journal Energy Research & Social Science.
From 2007-10 she held an Early Career Fellowship from the UK Economic and Social Research Council to study domestic energy feedback; during that period she was part of the external evaluation group for the extensive trials of smart metering and feedback in Great Britain, reporting to the energy regulator. In 2015 she was lead author of the Synthesis Report of the Smart Metering Early Learning Project, produced for the UK Dept. of Energy and Climate Change. She has just completed work on the H2020 ‘RealValue’ project to demonstrate residential smart thermal storage, where she led on the social research. Current commitments are to the UK Energy Research Centre (demand response) and the Oxford Martin School Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy, where she leads on demand-side issues.

In addition to her work on customer engagement, demand and operational aspects smart energy, Sarah has contributed to the three-year EVALOC evaluation of six low-carbon communities in England and Wales ( and to innovative work by Energy Local in enabling communities to aggregate locally-owned generation and manage local demand to reduce bills and carbon emissions (


Residential energy demand, smart energy systems (design, operation, end-user experience); energy advice and feedback; user engagement; smart metering; fuel poverty; community energy, environment initiatives.

Our-Energy knowledge areas

  • Systems, technologies and actors
  • Energy conservation and demand response

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