People and Energy: A Design-led Approach to Understanding Everyday Energy Use Behaviour

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DAN LOCKTON, FLORA BOWDEN, CATHERINE GREENE, CLARE BRASS and RAMA GHEERAWO

Reducing home energy use is a major societal challenge, involving behaviour change alongside infrastructure improvements. However, many approaches lump ‘energy demand’ together as something homogeneous, addressable primarily through quantitative feedback, rather than basing interventions on an understanding of why people use energy as they do. Our contention is that people don’t set out to ‘use energy’: its use is a side effect of solving everyday problems, meeting needs for comfort, light, cooking, cleaning, entertainment, and so on.

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