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Dr Richard Bull
Nov 2015
Are people the problem or the
solution? Some reflections from ‘the
wild’
The challenge of energy in non-domestic
buildings
• Approx 20% energy consumption
• More complex – in terms of building
ty...
Theinvisibilityofenergy
1)
2)
3)
Key challenges
1) Creative visualisations
2) Meaningful data
creative visualisation
Healthy buildings = happy animals
Quantifying Energy Performance
A building is happy when consumption is in the green zone
A building is neutral when consum...
Feedback . . .
If ‘they’ have the right
information ‘they’ will
change behaviour . . . ?
ABC vs Social Practice
Digital economy is more than just controls &
dashboards . . .
“Our electronic
networks are enabling
novel forms of collect...
“When citizens become
involved in working out
a mutually acceptable
solution to a project or
problem that affects
their co...
Gooddee2ds: Research context and
methodology
• 18 months funding from the UK Engineering and Physical
Science Research Cou...
The
user-group.
Note to self. The
formation of this group
was not easy!
Note to self. E.g. The formation
of this group was...
The Gooddee2ds responsive webapp
Research findings (1): membership of the
group & use of the app . . .
• Putting faces to names
• We don’t have a lot of co...
But . .
• Absence of key stakeholders (i.e Help Desk &
contractors/engineering team) was a problem:
• With regards to the ...
• Many participants were desk-bound with access to a
computer and less need of smart phone technology.
• Some did however ...
Barriers to participation (1)
• User-group had limited knowledge of social media &
technology
• Usage affected by roles, a...
Barriers to participation (2)
• Organisational approach to technology
• If you went into a leisure centre or library and p...
Conclusions: implications for energy
and non-domestic buildings
• The user-group all expressed benefits of meeting people ...
Issues to ponder. . .
• Original conceptions of smart or intelligent buildings envisaged buildings that
would take into ac...
Further reading)
• Bull, R., Lemon, M., Everitt, D., & Stuart, G. (2015). Moving beyond feedback: Energy
behaviour and loc...
Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild
Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild
Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild
Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild
Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild
Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild
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Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild

A presentation of review of my work on energy dashboards, the use of feedback and behaviour change in organisations to the Horizon Digital Economy Research Centre in Nottingham

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Are people the problem or solution: reflections from the wild

  1. 1. Dr Richard Bull Nov 2015 Are people the problem or the solution? Some reflections from ‘the wild’
  2. 2. The challenge of energy in non-domestic buildings • Approx 20% energy consumption • More complex – in terms of building type/agency/control/ethics/organizational culture • UK and EU Policy context – Energy and Performance Buildings Directive (2008) putting faith in Building Performance Certificates (EPCs & DECs) • Increasing research and interest in digital economy and ICT based solutions, e.g visualisation of data and SMART/Intelligent Buildings
  3. 3. Theinvisibilityofenergy
  4. 4. 1) 2) 3)
  5. 5. Key challenges 1) Creative visualisations 2) Meaningful data
  6. 6. creative visualisation Healthy buildings = happy animals
  7. 7. Quantifying Energy Performance A building is happy when consumption is in the green zone A building is neutral when consumption is in the yellow zone A building is sad when consumption is in the red zone Consumption (and normality) is dependent on ‘time of week’ Most weeks are similar but all weeks are different It is possible to create a normal weekly profile
  8. 8. Feedback . . . If ‘they’ have the right information ‘they’ will change behaviour . . . ?
  9. 9. ABC vs Social Practice
  10. 10. Digital economy is more than just controls & dashboards . . . “Our electronic networks are enabling novel forms of collective action, enabling the creation of collaborative groups that are larger and more distributed than any other time” Clay Shirky
  11. 11. “When citizens become involved in working out a mutually acceptable solution to a project or problem that affects their community and their personal lives, they mature into responsible democratic citizens and reaffirm democracy” Tom Webler et al . . . & behaviour change is more than information provision . . .
  12. 12. Gooddee2ds: Research context and methodology • 18 months funding from the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council - Digital Economy ‘Research in the Wild’ (The ‘wild’ was Leicester City Council) • Aim of Gooddee2ds: to explore a participatory approach to the development of a web-application to help building-users reduce energy consumption in non-domestic buildings. • Approach: • 5 meetings with a user-group of ‘lay & expert’ building users • Issued with iPhones • Development of an ICT-based ‘reporting tool’ based on user-input to encourage participation. • Ongoing monthly meetings with users. • Findings from this paper are based on a focus-group with the user-group (with insights from recent interviews)
  13. 13. The user-group. Note to self. The formation of this group was not easy! Note to self. E.g. The formation of this group was not easy!
  14. 14. The Gooddee2ds responsive webapp
  15. 15. Research findings (1): membership of the group & use of the app . . . • Putting faces to names • We don’t have a lot of contact with other city council departments about this kind of thing. What I actually find quite useful here is the fact that if we can report something we get a named person who will become responsible for it, and also as part of this user group . . . I’ve met them now. (M4) • Knowledge sharing • The library assistant (F1) for example said she hoped to “find out more about how this energy, power and everything is worked out . . . and to look at how we can reduce wastage”. • This was echoed by the energy services team leader (M5): Having a group that shares knowledge is always important . . . there isn’t one good way of doing a particular thing, and therefore sharing what’s around the table is the whole idea. • “But with the user group as a whole I think there wasn’t a problem having the different age groups because I think that helped us get the understanding of different people’s views, so that was a good thing I suppose” (R003)
  16. 16. But . . • Absence of key stakeholders (i.e Help Desk & contractors/engineering team) was a problem: • With regards to the contractors for example the team leader of Energy Services said they would not attend “because they’re just looking at, you know, this is our job, we complete that job, and that’s signed off and that’s the end of their sort of role.” He went on to admit though that they may have actually found it useful, “the only bit that they [the contractors] may find useful is the user’s point of view of what the problems and issues are (L1)”
  17. 17. • Many participants were desk-bound with access to a computer and less need of smart phone technology. • Some did however appreciate the ability to take photographs and then send and receive via email or social media. For example, • “I must admit I have sent some photographs through Gmail and things like that to contractors”. (M2) • “I take a photo on my phone and I’ll send it by email to people. The good thing for me with this is that I don’t have to go to the site now”. (M3) Research findings: social media & smart- phone use
  18. 18. Barriers to participation (1) • User-group had limited knowledge of social media & technology • Usage affected by roles, and the type and size of buildings in which they work, some felt that whilst they may engage with the forthcoming Gooddeeds app they would not use their smartphones to do so. For example: • I probably won’t use the phone. If I’ve got the website up, then I might well use it, but it’s not that big a building. I don’t carry my phone around with me when I’m in the building. If I have something I want to report on it . . . I’ll go and use the computer. (M4) • I’ve never been very active on the phone for using these things. I would say I was more active on the computer. Most probably it’s the nature of my work. I’m mainly around the desk, therefore more likely to use that. (M5)
  19. 19. Barriers to participation (2) • Organisational approach to technology • If you went into a leisure centre or library and people were on their phones, members of staff, then the public would sort of say, well hold on, what’s going on here? (L1) • But up till now there has been ‘you are provided with a computer to use at work’ you know, ‘you will only use it for work, you will not look at anything else or do anything else with it.’ And that’s, you know, very much how your work environment is controlled. (L8) • The challenge of ‘letting go’ • Competing priorities . . .
  20. 20. Conclusions: implications for energy and non-domestic buildings • The user-group all expressed benefits of meeting people - ‘putting faces to names’. • But divided over the benefits and opportunities of smartphones & social media– variations due to job role and background. • All seemed cautious about the public nature of social media and the potential for complaints and abuse. • ‘No- one size fits all’ solution within a diverse portfolio of building types, functions and sizes. • Organisational and cultural barriers – especially in local authorities. • Cost cutting/redundancies • A focus on delivering core services and value for money • Increased sub-contracting of facilities management and separating energy services & property managament. • The challenge of participation & letting go’
  21. 21. Issues to ponder. . . • Original conceptions of smart or intelligent buildings envisaged buildings that would take into account the preferences and experiences of the building- users, yet a techno-centric approach has tended to dominate. • Innovation is required not just in advanced controls but in affordable tools that offer increased engagement and participation so that building users can collaborate, share knowledge and mitigate some of the errors inherent in the solely technical approach. It may involve re-shaping the effectiveness of public services through changing the relationship between building energy managers and building users. • Of course the obvious question is this – do building-users want greater control of their buildings? • Further research is needed to substantiate whether these themes of co- creation and participation can be effectively applied within the built environment and deliver on the promises contained in the literature.
  22. 22. Further reading) • Bull, R., Lemon, M., Everitt, D., & Stuart, G. (2015). Moving beyond feedback: Energy behaviour and local engagement in the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science 8 32-40 • Bull et al (2014) Digitally Engaging and Empowering Employees for Energy Demand Reduction: A New Approach for the Next Generation? ACEEE Summer Study Conference Proceedings. August. • Bull et al (2013). Are people the problem or the solution? A critical look at the rise of the smart/intelligent building and the role of ICT enabled engagement. ECEEE Summer Study Conference Proceedings 2013, pp. 1135-1145; 5A-079-13 • Stuart, G., Wilson, C., Bull, R. and Irvine, K. (2013) Designing live energy performance feedback for public buildings in Leicester. ECEEE Summer Study Proceedings, 3-257-13 • Bull, R., J. Petts, et al. (2008). "Social Learning from Public Engagement: Dreaming the impossible?" Journal of Environmental Management and Planning 51(5): 703-718. • Contact: rbull@dmu.ac.uk • Twitter: @richbull

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