26 October 2011

Energy consumption in the home

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Energy consumption in the home
The Danish Alexandra Institute (see also previous post) published in 2009 an anthropological user study of needs, motivations and barriers in relation to energy consumption in the home.

It was part of the MCHA project (Minimum Configuration – Home Automation) that focused on IT solutions that help to optimise and reduce energy consumption in homes.

“This guide is a presentation of the results of a qualitative user study of patterns in user needs, motivations and barriers in relation to energy consumption and willingness to change consumption behaviour. The objective is to develop an energy control unit for the home which will help users to understand and control their energy consumption and ultimately encourage them to change consumption habits.

The guide contains a presentation of the MchA project, a project funded by the Danish Enterprise and Construction Agency, and the user involvement methods applied during the project. A result of the user study is for example the definition of four ‘user profiles’ and 11 relevant themes that are interrelated. In this guide we have decided to refer to these themes as ‘user voices’ because they express the different motivations, needs and barries that are at play in a more or less conscious inner dialogue in the users before he or she takes action. These motivations and barriers open a window of opportunity for an energy control unit. At the back of each user voice card, you will find details and recommendations for an energy control unit.

The recommendations are not exhaustive, and the intention is that different readers should contribute additional opportunities, depending on the context in which the cards are used.

The guide can be read from one end to the other. It can also be used as an easy-to-read tool that provides an insight into relevant themes in the users’ consumption behaviours. The guide is meant as an inspiration on how to respond to several user voices and user profiles at the same time and thus reflect on how these different and often conflicting user voices influence consumption behaviours in the home.”

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