A socially inspired energy feedback technology: challenges in a developing scenario

Piccolo, Lara S.; Baranauskas, Cecilia and Azevedo, Rodolfo (2017). A socially inspired energy feedback technology: challenges in a developing scenario. AI & Society, 32(3) pp. 383–399.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-016-0653-8


Raising awareness of the environmental impact of energy generation and consumption has been a recent concern of contemporary society worldwide. Underlying the awareness of energy consumption is an intricate network of perception and social interaction that can be mediated by technology. In this paper we argue that issues regarding energy, environment and technology are very much situated and involve tensions of sociocultural nature. This exploratory investigation addresses the subject by introducing the design of a Socially-inspired Energy Eco-Feedback Technology (SEET), which is composed of an interactive system to trigger and mediate collective savings and a tangible device as a public feedback. Results of an evaluation situated in the context of a school in a socially disadvantaged area in Brazil are discussed, shedding light on the sociocultural aspects related to the subject. The role of the SEET to motivate energy awareness collectively among the social group is assessed, as well as the design characteristics that contributed to that. Outcomes bring to light social aspects and dynamics that would hardly have been predicted, evidencing critical factors related to a socially inspired design approach in the energy awareness domain.

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