Conversations with my washing machine: an in-the-wild study of demand-shifting with self-generated energy

Bourgeois, Jacky; van der Linden, Janet; Kortuem, Gerd; Price, Blaine A. and Rimmer, Christopher (2014). Conversations with my washing machine: an in-the-wild study of demand-shifting with self-generated energy. In: 2014 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2014), 13-17 Sep 2014, Seattle, Washington, US, ACM, pp. 459–470.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2632048.2632106

URL: http://ubicomp.org/ubicomp2014/index.php

Abstract

Domestic microgeneration is the onsite generation of low- and zero-carbon heat and electricity by private households to meet their own needs. In this paper we explore how an everyday household routine – that of doing laundry – can be augmented by digital technologies to help households with photovoltaic solar energy generation to make better use of self-generated energy. This paper presents an 8-month in-the-wild study that involved 18 UK households in longitudinal energy data collection, prototype deployment and participatory data analysis. Through a series of technology interventions mixing energy feedback, proactive suggestions and direct control the study uncovered opportunities, potential rewards and barriers for families to shift energy consuming household activities and highlights how digital technology can act as mediator between household laundry routines and energy demand-shifting behaviors. Finally, the study provides insights into how a “smart” energy-aware washing machine shapes organization of domestic life and how people “communicate” with their washing machine.

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