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Sustainable Interactions: Studies in the Design of Energy Awareness Artefacts
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, MDALAB - Human Computer Interfaces. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2011 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis presents a collection of experimental designs that approach the problem of growing electricity consumption in homes. From the perspective of design, the intention has been to critically explore the design space of energy awareness artefacts to reinstate awareness of energy use in everyday practice. The design experiments were used as vehicles for thinking about the relationship between physical form, interaction, and social practice. The rationale behind the concepts was based on a small-scale ethnography, situated interviews, and design experience. Moreover, the thesis compares designer intention and actual user experiences of a prototype that was installed in nine homes in a residential area in Stockholm for three months. This was done in order to elicit tacit knowledge about how the concept was used in real-world domestic settings, to challenge everyday routines, and to enable both users and designers to critically reflect on artefacts and practices.

From a design perspective, contributions include design approaches to communicating energy use: visualizations for showing relationships between behaviour and electricity consumption, shapes and forms to direct action, means for turning restrictions caused by energy conservation into central parts of the product experience, and ways to promote sustainable behaviour with positive driving forces based on user lifestyles.

The general results indicate that inclusion is of great importance when designing energy awareness artefacts; all members of the household should be able to access, interact with, and reflect on their energy use. Therefore, design-related aspects such as placement and visibility, as well as how the artefact might affect the social interactions in the home,  become central. Additionally, the thesis argues that these types of artefacts can potentially create awareness accompanied by negative results such as stress. A challenge for the designer is to create artefacts that communicate and direct energy use in ways that are attractive and can be accepted by all household members as a possible way of life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press , 2011. , 72 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1485
Keyword [en]
Interaction design, energy awareness, sustainability, domestication
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67187Local ID: LiU-Tek-Lic-2011:24ISBN: 978-91-7393-163-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-67187DiVA: diva2:408113
Presentation
2011-04-29, Visionen, hus B, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Supervisors
Note
In the electronic version of the thesis the references in some of the chapters has been corrected.Available from: 2011-04-13 Created: 2011-04-04 Last updated: 2011-04-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Persuasive Engagement: Exploiting lifestyle as a driving force to promoteenergy-aware use patterns and behaviours
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Persuasive Engagement: Exploiting lifestyle as a driving force to promoteenergy-aware use patterns and behaviours
2008 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Electricity consumption has been rising significantly in the western world the last decades and this affect the environment negatively. Efficient use and more energy conservative usage patterns could be ways to approach this problem. However, electricity has for a long time actively been hidden away and it is rarely thought of unless it ceases to exist. From the perspective of critical design, we have been working to find methods to visualise electricity and electricity consumption in everyday life to promote environmentally positive behavioural change. In this paper, we are looking at how aspects of lifestyles can be used in design as central driving forces that could lead to changed behaviour. Attempts to promote behavioural changes related to energy consumption might be successfully carried out when people are offered desirable alternatives that are engaging and that do not impose a perceived extra burden in their everyday life. This argument is exemplified through two design concepts, the AWARE Laundry Lamp and the Energy Plant, which are examples on how to increase people’s energy awareness and offer them means for reducing their energy consumption in the home. Both prototypes are inspired by current trends in lifestyle as well as actual observed user behaviour.

Keyword
Interaction Design; Sustainable Design; Energy; Lifestyle; Persuasive Design
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67462 (URN)
Conference
Design Research Society International Conference 2008 (DRS2008), 16–19 July 2008, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, United Kingdom
Available from: 2011-04-13 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2011-04-13Bibliographically approved
2. The Energy AWARE Clock: Incorporating Electricity Use in the Social Interactions of Everyday Life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Energy AWARE Clock: Incorporating Electricity Use in the Social Interactions of Everyday Life
2009 (English)In: Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Environmentally Conscious Design andInverse Manufacturing (EcoDesign 2009), 2009Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

New interfaces to the energy system can facilitate changes of habits and provide means to control the household’s use of energy. In this paper, we look at energy use and such interfaces in the home from a socio-technical perspective. We describe how interviews and user observations can be used in combination with the theory of domestication to inform and inspire the design of interfaces to the energy system. As a result of our approach, we present the Energy AWARE Clock, an example of a new type of electricity meter that challenges the norm of how the electricity system is typically represented in the home. The Energy AWARE Clock makes use of a clock metaphor to vi sualise electricity-use in relation to time in everyday life. Energy-awareness products always challenge domestic social patterns and it is important to consider these aspects in the design process to find successful solutions for the future.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67463 (URN)
Conference
6th International Symposium on Environmentally Conscious Design and Inverse Manufacturing (EcoDesign 2009), 7–9 December 2009, Sapporo, Japan
Available from: 2011-04-13 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2011-05-02
3. Coffee Maker Patterns and the Design of Energy Feedback Artefacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Coffee Maker Patterns and the Design of Energy Feedback Artefacts
Show others...
2010 (English)Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Smart electricity meters and home displays are being installed in people’s homes with the assumption that households will make the necessary efforts to reduce their electricity consumption. However, present solutions do not sufficiently account for the social implications of design. There is a potential for greater savings if we can better understand how such designs affect behaviour. In this paper, we describe our design of an energy awareness artefact – the Energy AWARE Clock – and discuss it in relation to behavioural processes in the home. A user study is carried out to study the deployment of the prototype in real domestic contexts for three months. Results indicate that the Energy AWARE Clock played a significant role in drawing households’ attention to their electricity use. It became a natural part of the house hold and conceptions of electricity became naturalized into informants’ everyday language.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York, USA: ACM, 2010
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67466 (URN)10.1145/1858171.1858191 (DOI)978-1-4503-0103-9 (ISBN)
Conference
ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS2010), 8–20 August 2010. Åhus, Denmark
Available from: 2011-04-13 Created: 2011-04-13 Last updated: 2014-09-24Bibliographically approved

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