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.

  3 comments for “People and Energy: A Design-led Approach to Understanding Everyday Energy Use Behaviour

  1. March 1, 2017 at 3:37 am

    […] The EPIC2013 paper by Dan Lockton and colleagues on energy use, for example, shows how the emic meaning of energy consumption is not about “using energy” per se but more about end goals and values like caring for family and creating a comfortable, welcoming home. At EPIC2011 Michael Donovan explored the meaning and values in the locavore food movement. He suggests that advocacy for sustainable food systems embodied in the movement is, for locavore adherents, only partially about sustainability and at least equally about frustration with the generic, impersonal experience of the mainstream food economy. Inspired by insights such as these we want to know: What do sustainability issues really feel like in people’s lives? How could a thick description of sustainability and its interconnections with other aspects of culture help us identify constraints and opportunities to promote more sustainable practices? […]

  2. June 16, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    […] People and Energy: A Design-led Approach to Understanding Everyday Energy Use Behavior, Dan Lockton et al. […]

  3. November 17, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    […] and services. This approach enabled Dan Lockton and colleagues at the Royal College of Art (2013) to help utility companies work more effectively with customers to reduce their energy consumption. […]

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