UKUPA WUD09 Debra Lilley: Reducing Household Energy Use

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Carbon, Control and Comfort is a three-year collaborative research project aiming to engage users in the design of control systems that they like, that allow them to create the comfort conditions they …

Carbon, Control and Comfort is a three-year collaborative research project aiming to engage users in the design of control systems that they like, that allow them to create the comfort conditions they want and which, through using the technology and fabric of their homes more effectively, reduces their energy use. This presentation will discuss how occupants' comfort practices impact upon energy use and the socio-technical, usability, design and ethical factors which could inform the development of new devices or systems that enhance and promote energy reducing comfort practices.

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  • 1. Reducing Household Energy Use  ‐ Considerations for developing design  interventions to encourage more  sustainable behaviour [ World Usability Day – 12th November 2009 ] Dr Debra Lilley [ Department of Design and Technology & ESRI Loughborough University ]
  • 2. Carbon, Control and Comfort: User‐centred control systems for carbon  reduction and load distribution (2009‐2011) [ Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council & E.On UK ]
  • 3. Aim [ to engage users in the design of control systems that  they like, that allow them to create the comfort  conditions they want and which, through using the  technology and fabric of their homes more effectively, reduces their energy use]  Context [ social housing tenants ]  [ Merthyr Tydfil  ‐ Wales / Harrogate ‐ Leeds ]  [ families / elderly ‐ individuals & couples ] 
  • 4. Talk [ Context  occupants' comfort practices & energy use ]  [ Existing interventions; socio‐technical, usability,  design & ethical factors in relation to social housing ] [ Next Steps ‐ capturing user behaviour, identifying  impacts, applying theory, new design interventions ]
  • 5. Variability in energy consumption in the home can be affected by occupants’ comfort practices…
  • 6. … by how they interact with technologies, fabric & furnishings in their  homes …
  • 7. … their level of activity and the clothes they choose to wear
  • 8. … the appliances and devices they own and use
  • 9. … and the way in which products are used in the home 
  • 10. Rise in single‐occupancy households and disposable income
  • 11. … increasing mobility of women, home‐working and a ‘24/7’ culture
  • 12. …. increased use of energy‐intensive appliances….
  • 13. … energy consumption from lighting and appliances has increased,  despite efficiency gains in other areas (e.g. energy efficient boilers)
  • 14. …although  energy labelling schemes on domestic appliances have  increased in recent years they are misleading as do not consider real  use behaviours such as opening, adding food at room temperature
  • 15. 80% of UK public are convinced about climate change and express  strong concern about the environmental impacts but their actions do not reflect their concerns
  • 16. Few people make the link between environmental problems and  the energy and materials used at home
  • 17. Feedback on energy usage is limited…
  • 18. Householders wishing to monitor energy consumption in more detail  can choose from a vast array of ‘off‐the‐shelf’ feedback devices…… … to the more desirable “wattson” … from the utilitarian  “kill‐a‐watt”
  • 19. e.g. Watts Up Pro ‐ user connects all data outputs  from individual monitors to a central system. e.g. Kill A Watt ‐ requires user to observe screen  which, if plugged into the wall under a desk or  table, can be difficult to access.
  • 20. … displayed in numeric… ..ambient (e.g. light, colour, sound) e.g.  Energy Aware Cord / Consumption Feedback Switch …. pictorial or abstract formats… e.g. Tiffany Holmes Eco visualization
  • 21. Onzo smart energy kit in‐home display, sensor and web portal  connects to PC to upload data to a web portal for more detailed information  and energy reduction advice.
  • 22. Energy data can be delivered via dedicated devices or by ‘piggy‐ backing’ on existing products such as iPods and iPhones, digital  televisions… e.g. “Current State” ‐ a conceptual mobile application used to monitor and control  energy usage in the home. 
  • 23. ...or internet applications e.g. Google PowerMeter • free electricity usage monitoring tool  • receives data from utility smart meters and in‐home energy management  devices and visualizes information on iGoogle • now in‐partnership with TED – The Energy Detective.
  • 24. Some energy monitoring devices use social networking and blogging  services which utilize instant messaging or a web interface Yello Sparzähler smart meters ‘tweet’ about energy use
  • 25. user Eco‐Information • onus on user to learn from feedback and change  Eco‐Choice  guide behaviour change • less control – more room for non‐compliance Eco‐Feedback • greater acceptance by users? power in decision‐making Eco‐ Spur • choice with some persuasion  maintain • feedback mechanism ensures cause‐effect  Eco‐Steer  relationship maintained change Eco‐Technology • eradicates need for human intervention ensure • minimises unpredictability  Clever Design change • ensures compliance • users less likely to learn from & adapt behaviour  product
  • 26. • Take into account target users needs / expectations / context  • Facilitate continued use – self‐generating not non‐rechargeable • Embodied and in‐use energy vs. energy savings • Sustained interaction • Choice vs control ‐ tolerance / preference
  • 27. Next steps [ user centred research – intensive monitoring / ethnography  ]  [ design intervention development ] [ testing and evaluation ]
  • 28. Thank you for listening Dr Debra Lilley‐