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Low Carbon Housing for Non-experts

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Until recently, most low carbon retrofits have been carried out by experts and enthusiasts on their own houses. However, retrofit needs to move rapidly into the mass market if we are to meet our carbon reduction targets. What if occupants are not experts? Is "usability" dependent on context, user goals, and the user's ability to achieve these with "effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction" a useful framework for assessing the success of low carbon retrofit? Do the goals of users match those of designers? What evidence is there of good and poor usability in low carbon retrofit?

Residents’ primary motivations for involvement were reduced fuel bills and improved comfort, rather than green issues. Initial monitoring has revealed the importance of usability and personal control in achieving these aims for the residents. In this they are likely to be closer to the typical mass-market customer than the early pioneers.

Marianne Heasleip from URBED presented initial findings from a set of linked case studies of completed low carbon whole house retrofits in the social housing sector the UK. Her findings point to the importance of matters such as the specification of controls, the quality of handover information, the importance of communication whilst the works are in progress and the need for ongoing customer care. This is likely to have management and cost implications in any mass market retrofit scheme. She suggests that usability should indeed be a significant concern for designers, of both whole houses and individual products, at strategic and tactical levels.

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Low Carbon Housing for Non-experts

  1. 1. low carbon housing fornon-experts: usability in whole house retrofit Marianne Heaslip URBED
  2. 2. Most low carbon‘retrofits’ designed by,and for, experts andenthusiasts
  3. 3. But we need to hit the mass-market to achieve carbonreduction targets.... ...the equivalent of a city the size of Cambridge every month ‘til 2050
  4. 4. Encouraging technology uptake..?
  5. 5. Potential pitfalls...Building performance doesn’t match design stage predictions:• Due to build quality and changes during procurement?• Due to inaccuracies/ false assumptions in modelling?• Due to user behaviour?How can we convince people to opt for the measures if:• It involves ‘letting the builders in’?• Their homes become less ‘user-friendly’?• The cost savings aren’t guaranteed?
  6. 6. Significance of usability? e extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use (ISO/TR 16982:2002)
  7. 7. Context ,&1-7D ,&1-7D @ 2//3$ K 2//3$ %&)!*+,&- %&)!*+,&- !"##$ !"##$ %&()!*+,&- %&()!*+,&- !456/78$ !456/78$ %&9!*+,&-) %&9!*+,&-) :"0;<=$) :"0;<=$) (&%+>*+,&?0 C//08$ C//08$ (&%+>*+,&?0 &%)!*+,&- &%)!*+,&-Measures were tailored to @A=B"#$) @A=B"#$) 1&,+>*+,&?0 .#//0$) 1&>+>*+,&?0 .#//0$) %&11)!*+,&- %&11)!*+,&-lifestyle and residents’ 9)8G+) "H<0=B0<)"0<" 1)8G+) "H<0=B0<)"0<" J C 2//3$ 2//3$ %&)!*+,&- %&)!*+,&-tolerance of disruption... !"##$ %&()!*+,&- !"##$ %&()!*+,&- !456/78$ %&9!*+,&-) !456/78$ %&9!*+,&-) C//08$ &%)!*+,&- :"0;<=$) :"0;<=$) C//08$ >&%+>*+,&?0 ((%# >&%+>*+,&?0 ,%%# &%)!*+,&- @A=B"#$) @A=B"#$) F&F+>*+,&?0 .#//0$) F&+>*+,&?0 .#//0$) %&E)!*+,&- %&E)!*+,&-...but also a desire by design 9)8G+) "H<0=B0<)"0<" 9)8G+) "H<0=B0<)"0<" L . 2//3$ 2//3$ %&)!*+,&- %&)!*+,&-team to ‘test’ different !"##$ %&()!*+,&- !"##$ %&()!*+,&-measures !456/78$ !456/78$ %&9!*+,&-) %&9!*+,&-) :"0;<=$) C//08$ :"0;<=$) C//08$ >&%+>*+,&?0 ((%# &%)!*+,&- (&%+>*+,&?0 ((%# &%)!*+,&- @A=B"#$) @A=B"#$) I .#//0$) I .#//0$) %&E*%&()!*+,&- %&E*%&()!*+,&- &( ,&1-7D )!"/0)1.)2+)3"405-+"3&2"-0+,.67"8+)108"6+49,."*.)2"&)1" 5.4:&)+4&,".;6&4"<&)27"20,&6"=>$" M 2//3$ %&)!*+,&- *+"/0)1.)2+)3"405-+"3&2"-0+,.67"?&22+*."2&49"*.)27"20,&6"=>$Different levels of !"##$ %&()!*+,&- ,+"@,.46+4"-0+,.67"A>BC7"20,&6":.65&,$ -+"@;:&(2"&+6"20(64.":.&"?(5?DA>BC7"20,&6":.65&,$ $+"/0)1.)2+)3"3&2"-0+,.67"A>BC7"20,&6":.65&,$ .+/E03"-(6)+)3"20*."8$"-&49"-0+,.67"?&22+*."2&49"*.)27"20,&6"complication and different !456/78$ %&9!*+,&-) :.65&,"2F2.5$ 0+//0)1.)2+)3"405-+"3&2"-0+,.67"A>BC7"20,&6"=>"2F2.5$ G2.."&??.)1+;"<06"<(6:.6"1.&+,2H C//08$fuel sources :"0;<=$) >&%+>*+,&?0 &%)!*+,&- @A=B"#$) I .#//0$) %&>*%&,)!*+,&- !"#$%!" #$"%&&"()&*+,&-,.
  8. 8. " #Users #""--">> #""--">> ./)(-01$"-)" ./)(-01$"-)" Different levels of technical 2")3,)(-01$"-)" 2")3,)(-01$"-)"• "-4,%!%5"67"0(5"8 "-4,%!%5"67"0(5"8 "-4,%!%5"6%0="58 "-4,%!%5"6%0="58 confidence and environmental )(>=%!%5"67"0(5"8 )(>=%!%5"6%0="58 )(>=%!%5"67"0(5"8 )(>=%!%5"6%0="58 awareness *-$"5>=%-$1-? !""#$%&())*+, *-$"5>=%-$1-? !""#$%&())*+, !""#"-$())*+, !""#"-$())*+, Seeing the construction process 99,99 :;,99 ;<,99 99,99 :;,99 ;<,99• helped understanding• Induction process... $ #""--">> ! #""--">> ./)(-01$"-)" ./)(-01$"-)" 2")3,)(-01$"-)" 2")3,)(-01$"-)" "-4,%!%5"67"0(5"8 "-4,%!%5"67"0(5"8 "-4,%!%5"6%0="58 "-4,%!%5"6%0="58 )(>=%!%5"67"0(5"8 )(>=%!%5"67"0(5"8 )(>=%!%5"6%0="58 )(>=%!%5"6%0="58 *-$"5>=%-$1-? *-$"5>=%-$1-? !""#$%&())*+, !""#$%&())*+, !""#"-$())*+, !""#"-$())*+, 99,99 :;,99 ;<,99 99,99 :;,99 ;<,99
  9. 9. Userʼs goals for retrofit• Reduced bills (6)• Interest in ‘green issues’ (2)• Relative had solar panels and they wanted them too (1)• Peer pressure (neighbours wanted their house ‘done’) (1)• Doing their ‘civic duty’(1)• Work needed to be done to the house anyway (2)• Wanted the house to be more ‘modern’ (1)• “Just wanted new windows”(!) (1) (of 7 households)
  10. 10. Userʼs ʻeverydayʼ goals A )".%)*"0 *7")5%$*$* $"**,&-=/ !"#$ "*!#$ #;")#-" 3,;,&-)%%5 *"5.>/ !"#$%&$(%)*#+,&-.#)*,&)"*)%(,*/ )"012"0(1"34,33$ 4",&--)""& E )".%)*"0 *7")5%$*$* $"**,&-=/ !"#$ "+%#$ #;")#-" 3,;,&-)%%5 *"5.>/ !"#$%&$(%)*#+,&-.#)*,&)"*)%(,*/ )"012"0(1"34,33$ 4",&--)""& Wide range of comfort ,&2)"#$"02%5(%)* ,&2)"#$"02%5(%)*• temperatures• Different levels of washing, K )".%)*"0 *7")5%$*$* $"**,&-=/ !"#$ !((#$ #;")#-" 3,;,&-)%%5 *"5.>/ H )".%)*"0 *7")5%$*$* $"**,&-=/ !"#$ !!(#$ #;")#-" 3,;,&-)%%5 *"5.>/ laundry etc !"#$%&$(%)*#+,&-.#)*,&)"*)%(,*/ !"#$%&$(%)*#+,&-.#)*,&)"*)%(,*/ )"012"0(1"34,33$ )"012"0(1"34,33$ ."").)"$$1)"6()%5&",-74%1)$8 5%0")&,$,&-7%1$" 4",&--)""& 4",&--)""&• Accommodating pets and ‘everyday’ habits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
  11. 11. System Controls (effectiveness) Control/Interface Usability Rating House Comment on Resident Use 1 2 3 4 5 Residents don’t use timer, just flick on clarity of purpose A and off as needed, using thermostat as a limit, but often switching off before this Central Heating Control intuitive switching B temp is reached. usefulness of labelling C ease of use D indication of system E response/feedback degree of fine control F Cover is fiddly to flip up to make adjustments, screen is not very Use manual control and thermostat with clear or big. Symbols hard to understand. Small buttons. G thermostat as limit. Control/Interface Usability Rating House Comment on Resident Use 1 2 3 4 5 clarity of purpose A Central Heating/ Solar Control intuitive switching B Understand some settings, but don’t like usefulness of labelling C not being able to switch ‘off’. ease of use D indication of system Understand some settings, but only use E to adjust temp up and down a bit. response/feedback Very good understanding of system, degree of fine control F navigates menus to control as needed. Lots of digital menus and sub-menus to navigate. Labelling very abstract. Constant temperature read-out. Small backlit display. G Control/Interface Usability Rating House Comment on Resident Use 1 2 3 4 5 Central Heating/ Heat Pump Control clarity of purpose A intuitive switching B Displayenhet Menysystem usefulness of labelling När dörren till värmepumpen öppnas visas menysystemets C fyra huvudmenyer samt viss grundinformation på displayen. Inomhustemperatur – Varmvatten- Very good understanding of system, ease of use D Utetemperatur (om rumsgivare finns) temperatur including adjusting ‘heatcurves’ etc. A Display indication of system B Statuslampa response/feedback E C OK-knapp degree of fine control F D Bakåt-knapp Digital screen is hard to read in bright light and usually hidden. E Manöverratt Symbols hard to understand without handbook. G Extra varmvatten Uppskattad mängd F Strömställare (om aktiverad) varmvatten Control/Interface Usability Rating Houses Comment on Resident Use F470 Meny 1 - Inomhusklimat Inställning och schemaläggning av inomhusklimatet. 1 2 3 4 5 Meny 2 - Varmvatten A Display Inställning och schemaläggning av varmvattenproduktionen.clarity of purpose A På displayen visas instruktioner, inställningar och Meny 3 - Info en) driftinformation. Med hjälp av den tydliga displayen Visning av temperatur- och annan driftinformation samt och ett lättanvänt menysystem kan du enkelt navigera tillgång till larmloggen. intuitive switching B
  12. 12. Fuel usage and costs (efficiency)• Early results based on resident reporting......not robust yet!• Residents report cost savings - but these vary significantly• Several residents report significant savings - and appear to be undershooting design targets for energy use and CO2 emissions• One resident reports small savings - but issues with thermostat setting and MVHR/window opening• Will only be able to make a proper assessment once one year+ of data available
  13. 13. Control Over HeatingComfort (satisfaction) A B• Residents report increased C thermal comfort: D E “I don’t have to go to bed in F thermals and a jumper anymore” G 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 No Control More Control Comfort Overall• Appears to be correlation between A comfort, control and satisfaction - B adaptive comfort (?) C D• Noise from MVHR an issue E F G 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Unsatisfactory Satisfactory
  14. 14. Other factors affecting satisfaction• Stress of construction process• Quality of finish• Responsiveness of maintenance• Quality of aftercare and support• PV + behaviour change• ‘Added bonus’ e.g. window cills, master- switch+parental control, reduced clothes washing• Improved environmental awareness
  15. 15. Initial conclusions and implications• Cost savings of measures/households vary significantly - - a significant issue if cost is a major motivator? - implications for the ‘Green Deal’ and fuel poverty?• Some approaches more ‘fit and forget’ than others - can’t rely solely on ‘techno-fix’• Feeling of ‘control’ very important - related to satisfaction and usability• Huge variations in ability to cope with change, level of interest and motivations among residents• Residents want to be involved throughout the process and need support afterwards - customer care needs to be a priority• Usability is key!
  16. 16. Evolution in design? Computers have evolved...can retrofit? ....BUT Even iPhones aren’t always ‘useful’...
  17. 17. “I made up my mind . . . that I wouldnever try to reform man—that’s much toodifficult. What I would do was to try tomodify the environment in such a way asto get man moving in preferreddirections” R. Buckminster Fuller

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