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Designing low and zero carbon products and systems: improvements based on consumers’ experience of adoption and use

Roy, Robin and Caird, Sally (2007). Designing low and zero carbon products and systems: improvements based on consumers’ experience of adoption and use. In: International Conference on Engineering Design ICED'07, Design for Society: Knowledge, innovation and sustainability, 28-30 August 2007, Paris, France.

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The development and rapid consumer adoption of low and zero carbon (LZC) technologies are key elements of UK and EU carbon reduction strategies to meet the challenge of climate change. Many LZC technologies are available, ranging from established energy efficiency products such as home insulation and energy-efficient lighting to more innovative renewable energy systems, including solar thermal systems, micro-wind turbines, solar photovoltaics and biomass stoves and boilers. This paper examines key influences on consumer adoption – and non-adoption – of energy efficiency products and renewable energy systems based on the findings of a UK Open University project, which conducted some 90 in-depth telephone interviews plus an on-line survey with nearly 400 responses during 2006. The survey results show that it is important to research consumer requirements and use behaviours when developing ‘green’ technologies. Consumer adoption of LZC products and systems has been relatively slow and, even when installed, due to behavioural effects, they have not always reduced carbon emissions as much as expected.
The results of this study of UK consumers’ experiences shows that improved designs are required to address barriers to LZC adoption and problems in use, including functionality, ergonomics, interconnectedness with other systems and symbolic value, as well as cost and payback. Offering challenges for designers and engineers and marketers, the paper identifies user-centred ideas and concepts to promote more rapid adoption and carbon-saving use of LZC technologies.

Item Type: Conference Item
Keywords: low and zero carbon (LZC) technologies; energy efficiency; renewable energy; consumer surveys; user-centred design
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Engineering and Innovation
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 8322
Depositing User: Robin Roy
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2007
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2016 12:27
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