Energy use in Mexico City

Spence, Alexa (2018). Energy use in Mexico City. [Data Collection]. Colchester, Essex: UK Data Service. 10.5255/UKDA-SN-853210

This project will investigate innovative ways of dividing up and representing energy use in shared buildings so as to motivate occupants to save energy. Smart meters (energy monitors that feed information back to suppliers) are currently being introduced in Britain and around the world; the government aims to have one in every home and business in Britain by 2019. One reason for this is to provide people with better information about their energy use to help them to save energy. Providing energy feedback can be problematic in shared buildings, and here we focus on workplaces, where many different people interact and share utilities and equipment within that building. It is often difficult to highlight who is responsible for energy used and difficult therefore to divide up related costs and motivate changes in energy usage. We propose to focus on these challenges and consider the opportunities that exist in engaging whole communities of people in reducing energy use. This project is multidisciplinary, drawing primarily on computer science skills of joining up data from different sources and in examining user interactions with technology, design skills of developing innovative and fun ways of representing data, and social science skills (sociology and psychology) in ensuring that displays are engaging, can motivate particular actions, and fit appropriately within the building environment and constraints. We will use a variety of methods making use of field deployments, user studies, ethnography, and small-scale surveys so as to evaluate ideas at every step. We have divided the project into three key work packages: 'Taking Ownership' which will focus on responsibility for energy usage, 'Putting it Together' where we will put energy usage in context, and 'People Power' where we will focus on creating collective behaviour change. In more detail, 'Taking Ownership' will explore how to identify who is using energy within a building, how best to assign responsibility and how to feed that back to the occupants. We know that simplicity of design is key here, as well as issues of fairness and ethics, and indeed privacy (might people be able to monitor your coffee drinking habits from this data?). 'Putting it Together' will consider different ways of combining energy data, e.g. joining this up across user groups or spaces, and combining energy data with other commonly available information, e.g. weather or diary data, so as to put it in context. We will also spend time considering the particular building context, the routines that currently exist for occupants, and the motivations that people have for using and saving energy within the building, in understanding how best to present energy information to the occupants. Our third theme, 'People Power' will focus on changing building user's behaviour collectively. We will examine how people interact around different energy goals, considering in particular cooperation and regulation, in finding out what works best in different contexts. The project then brings all aspects of research together in the use of themed challenge days where we promote specific energy actions for everyone in a building (e.g. switching off equipment after use) and demonstrate the impact that collective behaviour change can have. Beyond simply observing what works in this context through objective measures of energy usage, we will analyse when and where behaviour changes occurred and speak to the users themselves to find out what was engaging. These activities will combine to inform technical, design and policy recommendations for energy monitoring in workplaces as well as conclusions for other multi-occupancy buildings. Moreover, we will develop a tool kit to pass on to other companies and buildings so that others can use the findings and experience gained here. We will also explore theoretical implications of our results and communicate our academic findings to the range of disciplines involved

Data description (abstract)

Reducing energy use is a key way in which we can help to reduce carbon emissions in the UK. Communal environments, such as shared offices, consume a large amount of energy. It is therefore important to examine people's perceptions and motivations to use and save energy. This study examines motivations to save energy at work and at home and the likely reactions to different cooperative scenarios around energy use. Data comprises: demographics, including whether participants have managerial responsibitilites, size and sector of organisation worked for; behavioural intentions for energy use at home and at work; motivations to save energy at work and at home; concern about climate change and energy security; experience of black outs, power cuts and air pollution.

Data creators:
Creator Name Affiliation ORCID (as URL)
Spence Alexa University of Nottingham
Sponsors: EPSRC
Grant reference: EP/K002589/1
Topic classification: Natural environment
Society and culture
Keywords: motivation, energy consumption, cooperation, workplace
Project title: Creating the Energy for Change
Grant holders: Alexa Spence, Thomas Rodden, Eamonn Ferguson, Derek McAuley, Enrico Costanza
Project dates:
1 September 201231 August 2017
Date published: 22 Jun 2018 11:19
Last modified: 27 Jun 2018 13:23

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