Strategies and Tools to Raise Energy Awareness Collectively

Piccolo, Lara S. G. and Alani, Harith (2016). Strategies and Tools to Raise Energy Awareness Collectively. In: Behave 2016 - 4th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency, 8-9 Sep 2016, Coimbra, Portugal.


Providing smart meters and technology for feedback on energy consumption have been considered strategic in current energy policies as part of the battle against climate change. However, feedback alone does not always lead to energy savings. Beyond information on their own consumption and generic advices, people usually still need more specific guidance on how to change their behaviour in an effective and sustainable way. This research considers electricity consumption feedback as a learning element for collective knowledge building, and relies mainly on dialogue and collaboration to engage people with energy conservation as a social issue. To this end, a set of artefacts for triggering and mediating discussions on energy consumption within social groups was developed and evaluated with community leaders in the UK. In a series of 3 workshops, participants discussed how this approach and tools could help them in their mission of disseminating the energy conservation message to the community. Our results show that developing knowledge within a social group is an effective approach in raising awareness, and suggest that tangible artefacts can have an important role in engaging people. Also, initiatives aiming at engaging a wide range of the public must consider different degrees of familiarity with technology, as well as the different perceptions people may have relating energy consumption and environmental protection.

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