This project is multidisciplinary, drawing primarily on computer science skills of joining up data from different sources and in examining user interactions with technology, design skills of developing innovative and fun ways of representing data, and social science skills (sociology and psychology) in ensuring that displays are engaging, can motivate particular actions, and fit appropriately within the building environment and constraints. We will use a variety of methods making use of field deployments, user studies, ethnography, and small-scale surveys so as to evaluate ideas at every step. We are now coming to the end of the term of the project, you can find our key findings in our final report available here.

We have divided the project into three key work packages: ‘Taking Ownership’ which will focus on responsibility for energy usage, ‘Putting it Together’ where we will put energy usage in context, and ‘People Power’ where we will focus on creating collective behaviour change.

Taking OwnershipTaking Ownership

‘Taking Ownership’ will explore how to identify who is using energy within a building, how best to assign responsibility and how to feed that back to the occupants. We know that simplicity of design is key here, as well as issues of fairness and ethics, and indeed privacy (might people be able to monitor your coffee drinking habits from this data?).

Putting it TogetherPutting it Together

‘Putting it Together’ will consider different ways of combining energy data, e.g. joining this up across user groups or spaces, and combining energy data with other commonly available information, e.g. weather or diary data, so as to put it in context. We will also spend time considering the particular building context, the routines that currently exist for occupants, and the motivations that people have for using and saving energy within the building, in understanding how best to present energy information to the occupants.

People PowerPeople Power

‘People Power’ will focus on changing building user’s behaviour collectively. We will examine how people interact around different energy goals, considering in particular cooperation and regulation, in finding out what works best in different contexts. The project then brings all aspects of research together in the use of themed challenge days where we promote specific energy actions for everyone in a building (e.g. switching off equipment after use) and demonstrate the impact that collective behaviour change can have. Beyond simply observing what works in this context through objective measures of energy usage, we will analyse when and where behaviour changes occurred and speak to the users themselves to find out what was engaging.
These activities will combine to inform technical, design and policy recommendations for energy monitoring in workplaces as well as conclusions for other multi-occupancy buildings. Moreover, we will develop a tool kit to pass on to other companies and buildings so that others can use the findings and experience gained here. We will also explore theoretical implications of our results and communicate our academic findings to the range of disciplines involved.