DEVELOPMENT OF A SERVICE TO SUPPORT ENERGY CONSERVATION IN HOUSEHOLDS


 

Background

The European Union has set its goal to lower emission with 20% until 2020. In order to meet this goal we need to challenge ourselves to live in a more sustainable way by changing the way we behave especially in our homes. 

The aim of the master thesis was therefore to identify the barriers that hinder people from reducing their domestic energy consumption and to develop a product or service that enables, encourage and stimulates users to achieve low impact consumption.

Our process

Research 

Interviews and observation

In order to understand the user group, structured one-on-one interviews were performed in their households. The aim of the interviews was to gain insights about their knowledge and awareness regarding their energy consumption. In total 25 interviews were conducted. 

Quotes from participants in the study

Quotes from participants in the study

Co-creation sessions

Focus groups concentrated on co-creation were conducted in order to gain more insights and inspiration from the target group.  Both for ideation and evaluation purposes. 

 Identified barriers

The user study gave a lot of insights about people's feelings and attitudes towards energy consumption in their households. Insights were structured in a KJ analysis to find patterns opportunities for solution. The identified categories from the KJ analysis revealed what barriers people face when trying to save energy in their households.

KJ analysis

KJ analysis

Identified Barriers

Persona

In order to describe the most important characteristics of the user groups found in the research phase four different persona were developed.

Design Goal and Interaction Vision

The analysis of the user study revealed that people currently feel that energy conservation is difficult and that they don’t get anything for doing it. It was desired to create the final design that made people feel differently about energy conservation. This idea was described in a design goal and an interaction vision. The purpose was to give further direction to the project and in an early stage create a framework for the user experience. 

Design Goal

Design Goal

Interaction Vision

Interaction Vision

Ideation and evaluation  

In the idea generation phase the aim was to create as many ideas as possible and by iterations achieve qualitative ideas. Since the scope had been very wide, the first part of the idea generation aimed to explore what types of ideas the different strategies could produce. Several evaluation methods such as Concept scoring and SWOT Analysis were used to narrow down the amount of ideas and further develop them into wireframes together with scenario. The wireframes were then evaluated together with users. 

Some sketches from the idea generation

Some sketches from the idea generation

Evaluation of wireframes with users

Evaluation of wireframes with users

OUR SOLUTION

Energy Budget is a service that support householders to lower their energy consumption step by step, by providing them with a monthly individual budget. The budget is customized to the user's current consumption level and household conditions, making it reachable. They start their energy saving at a level that fits them to not be overwhelmed. During the month the user get simple feedback whether they are under or over the goal-budget. And as they improve the budget decreases. The progress is shown by stars and levels, which provide the user with positive feedback.

Users can follow their consumption trends and get forecasts on what their monthly consumption will be to keep track of if they're heading in the right direction. This way they can see when they use more than they should and still have time to do something about it. To boost their energy savings they can also accept challenges and get individual advice on how to reach their goal.

Energy Budget can be used by anyone, independent of what electricity provider they have since energy data is gather directly from the grid supplier using an API. The solution doesn’t require any extra devices or installation.  

In collaboration with Louise Broo. 

Master Thesis at Industrial Design Engineering Chalmers University of Technology

Partner: Climate KIC (Europe's largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change)

Focus areas: Service Design, User Experience

Year: 2015

Duration: 20 weeks full time

Programs used: Illustrator, InVision,  After Effects