Closing the feedback loop: A systems approach to supporting community-wide behaviour change in non-domestic buildings
Energy consumption is notoriously invisible to building users. Communicating energy performance to users presents a significant opportunity to support behaviour change. Access to near real-time consumption data makes ubiquitous energy performance feedback systems a realistic possibility. Non-domestic building energy performance is a complicated issue, so providing simple, intelligible feedback can be difficult. Communicating what building users are supposed to do with the information is still more so. A true closed-loop feedback system must include both communication of information to users and a means for users to affect the building to which the information pertains. This paper reports the design and use of a novel information system to facilitate a true feedback loop between a community of building stakeholders (users, energy professionals, researchers) and 25 pilot buildings. The buildings were equipped to communicate energy performance in near real time via a user-friendly ‘dashboard’ built on a sophisticated system of automated data capture, energy consumption modelling, predictive statistical analysis and visualisation. The ‘dashboard’ allowed casual users to access information easily via a simple happy/sad performance indicator whilst more “data-philic” users were able to click through to a data rich, easy-to-use interface. Users were also provided with access to a digital social platform enabling transparent discussion of energy performance with reference to the objective data. Results show that the ‘dashboard’ and digital social platform components are each valuable in their own right but in combination they produced a system whereby users could identify and solve energy and water performance problems effectively and efficiently.
The work was partly funded by the SMARTSPACES project (http://smartspaces.eu) co-funded by the European Commission within the CIP ICT Policy Support Programme (Grant agreement no. 297273).
Citation : Stuart, G., Snape, J.R., Fleming, P.D. (2016) Closing the feedback loop: A systems approach to supporting community-wide behaviour change in non-domestic buildings. In Proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. Pacific Grove, CA: ACEEE.
Research Group : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development
Research Institute : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)
Peer Reviewed : Yes