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User innovation in sustainable home energy technologies

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User innovation in sustainable home energy technologies

  1. 1. User innovation in sustainablehome energy technologiesSampsa Hyysalo* ^Jouni Juntunen*Stephanie Freeman**Aalto University, School of Business, Dept. of Management and International Business,Helsinki, Finland^ Aalto Univrersity, School of Design, Art and Architecture, Dept. of Design, Helsinki, Finland
  2. 2. User innovation in renewables• User innovation has been documented to occur in – Biomass heating systems and solar collectors in Austria (Ornetzeder and Rohracher, 2006) – Wind turbine cooperatives in Denmark (Jorgensen and Karnoe, 1995; Karnøe, 1996) – Energy efficient buildings in Germany (Ornetzeder and Rohracher, 2006 – Straw bale housing in the US (Seyfang, 2009),• Finland as a ―hard case‖ – No large producers—no ―supplier ecology‖ – Wide availability of district heating systems and low energy and electricity price backed by recent pro nuclear power decisions – Weak signs of renewable energy activism that could explain user inventiveness
  3. 3. Research QuestionWhat, where and how significantly users invent renewable energy technologies in residential homes?
  4. 4. Data & Methods• The main Finnish forums, and , – E.g. Heat pump forum ( 202 875 posts, 12 700 threads by over 3943 registered users in 5 years, by Nov 2012 viewed over 55 000 000 times• Sampling: overview of all major categories by going through 40-100 thread headings and following 5-20 threads in detail per category• Coverage: Key threads such as those in ―own modifications and improvements‖ where user designs and alterations were centered, 1206 discussion threads in total• Semi-structured Interviews: – 30-120 minutes – 35 users – 5 companies• Analysis: posts and interviews coded for inventions, background, support given and received, learning, forum activities, development pathways,• Evaluation: The found user inventions by three experts
  5. 5. User inventions in Finland• 105 inventions in heat pumps• 87 in wood pellet burning systems• User system level designs• User modifications• User hacks, add-ons, relocating, repurposing
  6. 6. DIY Air-Water-Heat-Pump & Selfmade controllogic
  7. 7. Air Heat Pump Diagram1-2 Installation location3 Installation conditions4-12 Melting mechanism of bottom cover13-16 Melting mechanism of collector outdoor coil17-20 Add-on for the outdoor unit21-26 Channelling of the water out of the unit27-30 Handling water outside of the unit31 Refrigerant fluid32-35 Hot water tank36 Water circulation37-51 Repurposing (air-to-air pump to air-to-water)52 Repurposing of air-to-air to geothermal pump53 Repurposing swimming pool HP to Air-to-water HP54 Repurposing of internal unit55 Utilization of cooled air from outdoor unit56-60 Add-on for internal unit61 Mechanical structure62-65 Sensors in internal unit66-75 Add-on for monitoring and controlling the overall system76-79 System level design
  8. 8. Ground Source Heat Pump Diagram1-8 Add-on for monitoring and controlling the overall unit performance9-12 Add-on for monitoring ground heat exchanger13-17 Coil location or modified use of coil and well18 System level design19-20 Water piping21-22 Well23 Add-on for control logic24-25 External hot water tank as add-on26 Heat distribution system
  9. 9. Wood Pellet Diagram 1-11 Burner 12-22 Pellet Boiler System 23-24 Burner Control 25-27 Pellet Auger 28-32 Cyclon 33-37 Indoor silo 38-46 Outdoor silo 47-51 Measurement 52-60 Automation 61 Exhaust gas vacuum 62 Hot water tank 63-86 Other pellet burning systems 87 Pellet Production
  10. 10. Summary of Innovation rating: 3 specialist reviewers Inventiveness Ease of Implementation Diffusion Potential Energy Saving Potential
  11. 11. Correlations• Inventive modifications were thus evaluated as more difficult to implement but had higher diffusion potential than incrementally inventive solutions.• The inventions that resulted in higher energy savings were also more difficult to implement and had less diffusion potential.
  12. 12. What, where and how significantlycitizens invent ?• In all three technologies users are able to invent in practically all parts and subsystems of the technology : capacity invent considerable• Few inventions new to the world, commercialized / widely proliferated• The most user inventors built solutions that had one or several facets that would have rendered them useless for mass producers of the systems• A reason for why these improvements have been neglected in mass products even when they give clear benefits to users• User inventiveness capitalizes on locally appropriable possibilities, where downsides do not matter, can be ignored or compensated locally• As elsewhere highly concentrated activity, less than 0.5 % involved in actively inventing and adopting modifications
  13. 13. Implications for energy and climate policy• Technology development – Examine the inventions from the perspective of what needs to be done to proliferate them to new local markets – Invite ‗lead-users‘ into ideation workshops to chart the future tech. development trends – Importance of modularity and adaptability for allowing tailoring• Market creation – Examining what roles are taken up by voluntary users to speed up tech uptake; what support is missing in the market – Invite lead-users into identifying problems and solutions to proliferation – Support for Internet forums and active users therein