AbstractUnprecedented levels of energy use continue to increase globally due to a lack of general consciousness regarding energy consumption practices and behaviours. If theUK and countries around the globe are to meet energy reduction targets and address the challenge of carbon emission, it is vital to make humans more conscious about their energy use, supporting them to understand and address their behaviour towards this and the environment in which we live.
This study employed a multidisciplinary (information, social and energy science) approach to find out if an energy dashboard and serious game that simulates a living space where the player must make pro-environment decisions for the game persona to stay alive until the game is completed, can encourage households to optimize their energy use and indoor environment quality IEQ (CO2, relative humidity, and temperature). Throughout the study, households were provided with feedback of their energy use and indoor environment conditions, pro-environment behaviour tips as well as the serious game. Quantitative data captured from the homes of the participants using an Integrated Metering and Sensor System (IMSS) enabled the researchers to measure changes to actual energy use and IEQ, while semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were used to gain insight into how the building occupants interacted with the dashboard and serious game.
The results from the dashboard usage only yielded electricity savings of between 1.05% and 7.8% for approximately 28% of the participants. However, the average savings for all participants was -5.46% (negative savings). 11%, 83% and 44% of the participants improved the quality of their indoor CO2, relative humidity, and
temperature respectively due to the dashboard only. A combination of the dashboard and serious game yielded average electricity savings of 7.77% across all participants;78% of participants recorded electricity savings of between 0.11% and 35.27%, while 44%, 67% and 17% improved the quality of their indoor CO2, relative humidity and temperature respectively. In addition, 61% of participants were able to sustain electricity savings of between 0.63% and 13.07% seven months after researchers withdrew or minimized all forms of interaction with them, with the average electricity savings for this 7 month period at 2.9%. Furthermore, 17%, 50% and 44% of participants were able to sustain healthy indoor CO2, relative humidity, and temperature respectively.
The outcome of the quantitative study was corroborated by the result of 2 semistructured interviews. The interviews demonstrated that approximately 68% of participants learnt to be more conscious about their energy use and indoor
environment conditions due to the dashboard. Approximately 52%, 37% and 16% of participants attributed their newfound consciousness to the feedback on energy use, IEQ and pro-environment tips respectively. 63% of participants saw the game as a beneficial way for householders to learn about sustainable energy use and IEQ behaviour. The trial heightened the interest of 58% of the participants in home energy use and IEQ data, supporting them to better understand energy use within their
In conclusion, the findings of this research demonstrate that use of the dashboard and serious game provide a low carbon solution whilst simultaneously increasing awareness and changing the energy use and IEQ behaviour within each household. If implemented on a global scale, these changes could save the planet, preserve energy sources and the indoor environment, and play a vital role in the fight against fuel poverty.
|Date of Award||2022|
|Supervisor||John Karadelis (Supervisor), Andrew Arewa (Supervisor), Shuli Liu (Supervisor) & Ashish Shukla (Supervisor)|