Interactive Demand Shifting in the context of Domestic Micro-Generation

Bourgeois, Jacky (2016). Interactive Demand Shifting in the context of Domestic Micro-Generation. PhD thesis The Open University.



The combination of ubiquitous computing and emerging energy technologies is radically changing the home energy landscape. Domestic micro-generation, dominated by solar photovoltaic, is increasing at a rapid pace. This represents an opportunity for creating and altering energy behaviours. However, these transformations generate new challenges that we call the domestic energy gap: domestic electricity consumption and microgeneration are out of sync. Micro-generation is mainly uncontrollable production relying on weather while domestic energy consumption tends to happen mostly during the evening. This thesis focuses on understanding and supporting new domestic practices in the context of domestic solar electricity generation, looking at ‘Demand-Shifting’. Specifically, we look at how can digital tools leverage Demand-Shifting practices in the context of domestic micro-generation? Relying on a mixed-method approach, we provide a qualitative and quantitative answer with the collaboration of 38 participating households in several field studies including two spanning more than eight months. Through a deep investigation of laundry and electric mobility routines in the context of domestic micro-generation, we emphasised a natural engagement into Demand-Shifting which appeared as a complex and time-consuming task for participants which was not visible when we analysed their quantitative data. We revealed this complexity through Participatory Data Analyses, a method we designed to analyse the data in collaboration with the participating householders. This provided us with a comprehensive view of the relationship between domestic micro-generation and daily routines. Finally, we highlight the need for timely and contextual support through the deployment of interventions in-the-wild. Building on discussions of our findings in perspective of the literature, we propose a conceptual framework to support domestic interactive Demand-Shifting.

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