Designing and evaluating an energy consumption competition
promotor: prof. dr. ir. arch. Andrew Vande Moere (KULeuven)
<draft version of my thesis>
Influenced by the climate and financial crisis, households would like to lower their electricity bill for the well-being of the environment and their own wallet. The problem is that users have little insight in their consumption. This thesis investigates a new way to raise awareness by letting households compete against each other in an energy consumption competition. In order to rank first, their electricity consumption must be the least over a certain period. Information about their usage and that of their competitors is visualized inside the homes on either an objective or a subjective display.
The objective display is comparable to many commercial energy monitors: it shows real numeric values in Euro, kWh or watts. However, such units are difficult to understand by users and could therefore be misinterpreted by them. This can be counteracted by developing a subjective display that interprets the facts and tells the competitors directly if they are doing well or not in comparison with their opponents. The elaboration of this principle is done by only using words instead of numbers to visualize the competition.
This clear distinction between two similar looking displays was chosen to gain insight in the kind of visualization that is most suitable for such a social game. The evaluation consisted of two young couples competing against each other for two weeks. The results were mainly interpreted qualitatively due to the limited number of participating people. Besides reporting on the experiment, this thesis also houses a technical part. It describes how open hardware projects and open source knowledge are combined to build the different blocks that are needed to do this study.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
- Situating residential electricity usage
- The Problem
- Improved feedback
CHAPTER 2: BACKGROUND
- Prior research on feedback displays
- Energy savings from residential energy demand feedback devices
- Prior research on comparative visualizations with social incentives
PART C: APPENDIX
- road to a final subject
- wireless sensor networks
- display prototypes
- soldering / build guide
PART D: CODE & DRAWINGS
- sensor station