New eViz Publications

Three new papers on eViz research have recently been published:

Abstract

The workplace offers opportunities for energy savings, but few studies have evaluated the effect of energy feedback in offices. This paper reports a case study of an energy visualisation intervention among social care staff. The research examined the role of feedback design (simple graphs vs. visualisation) and discusses the feasibility of implementing a near real-time visual feedback intervention into a work setting with staff keenly aware of their primary job roles. The findings show a staff sample with positive beliefs towards energy saving, but bounded by low feelings of self-efficacy, weak social norms, and perceived barriers in the office. Feedback may have supported feelings of collective efficacy and encouraged staff to talk with colleagues about ways to save energy. But engagement with feedback – and energy use in general – was limited. Energy use was embedded in other concerns and issues, such as a strong team culture and wider problems in the building. The case study highlights the complexities of energy-related behaviours in the workplace and the role visualising energy could play in this context. Engagement will be a key challenge in achieving successful feedback initiatives; we provide recommendations to tackle this challenge and identify areas for future research.

Abstract

This study examined the use of thermal imaging as a communication tool that allows householders to ‘see’ where a building is losing heat. We tested the effect of tailored and non-tailored thermal images on energy beliefs, behavioural intentions and a simple self-report behaviour question in an English field study. Householders received tailored thermal images of their home, thermal images of other homes with typical problems for the area (‘non-tailored’), or information on the same typical problems in text format. A post-intervention survey (N = 233) indicated that showing occupants any thermal image (tailored or non-tailored) led to higher vividness when recalling the communication, compared to text-only information. Householders engaged with the reports to a greater extent when they were personal to their home: the tailored thermal images were more likely to be shared with others and led to stronger energy saving intentions and reporting energy efficiency behaviour compared to non-tailored reports. This is a promising approach integrating technology and social science knowledge and methods.

eViz Research featured in Nature Energy

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Our work on thermal imaging has been featured in the first issue of Nature Energy. In a ‘News and Views’ article, Linda Steg discusses a recent eViz paper:

a study published in Environment and Behavior by Julie Goodhew and colleagues at Plymouth University reveals that thermal imaging is an effective tool for promoting household energy conservation. [...] The researchers show that such images motivated households to take actions to prevent heat losses in their homes.”

For the full article, follow this link.

eViz event slides – Now available to download

The presentation slides from the final eViz event are now available to download via the links below.

We want to thank all our speakers for helping to make the event a success!

Click here to download the slides for the eViz Summary

Presented by Sabine Pahl, Associate Professor (Reader) in Psychology. And Prof. Pieter de Wilde, Chair of Building Performance Analysis.

University of Plymouth – eViz PI’s

 

Teddinet Opening

Dan van der Horst - Introduction eViz and TEDDINET

Senior Lecturer in Environment and Society; TEDDINET PI, University of Edinburgh

Keynote Speakers

Michael Harrison - Behaviour change and smart metering-related interventions

Head of Benefits and Evaluation, Smart Metering Implementation Programme, DECC

“I believe that the project provides important and timely evidence and pointers for future policy development and delivery in energy efficiency. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, integrating social sciences with ICT and building science, has been critical to the project’s success, since it’s vital that visualisation approaches are properly understood in terms of how they work, for whom and in what context, as well as from a technological innovation perspective.”

Mark Wray - Innovate UK @ eViz – Preparing for an uncertain future

Lead Technologist – Built Environment, Innovate UK

“The e-Viz project makes a great contribution in improving the users relationship with energy.  If we are to reduce our GHG emissions to meet our legally binding targets we have to improve our understanding of how we use energy and where wastage can be eliminated.  Visualisation techniques play an important role in improving this understanding and the e-Viz project makes a valued contribution.  At Innovate UK we are planning an extensive Visioning exercise to identify innovative solutions we will need to advance our journey to lower carbon emissions over the next 10 years.  We see visualisation technologies as a key solution needed on this journey.”

Robert Pannell - The vision at the Zero Carbon Hub for the future of energy efficiency of buildings & policy developments

Managing Director, Zero Carbon Hub

“The eVIZ event held at Plymouth University on the 9th. September gave attendees a unique opportunity to learn  more about how people interact with the building they occupy. The meeting also stressed the importance of data collection to inform key processes and practices. An excellent event with enjoyable presentations.”

Glenn Goodall - RCUK Energy Programme

Portfolio Manager for Energy Efficiency, Urban Living, Wind Power and Marine Energy – Research Councils UK Energy Programme, EPSRC

“I found the meeting extremely useful, I often read proposals and don’t get a full understanding of the impact or size of the research involved - these events bring everything into focus. It was also interesting to see how the different disciplines interact and work together.”

eViz – The Next Level

Stephen Sheppard - Scaling up with visualization tools to engage a wider public on community energy

Professor at the University of British Colombia in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Director of the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning.

Alba Fuertes - EnerGAware

Associate Professor in Construction Engineering and Management, Plymouth University.

eViz Researchers present Energy Visualisation Tools

On 10 September over 70 researchers and representatives from a range of sectors met in Plymouth to discuss tools developed as part of our eViz project. All partner universities were represented (Plymouth, Birmingham, Bath and Newcastle), bringing together such diverse fields as Psychology, Building science and Computer sciences.

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The tools are designed to be exciting and engaging in order to communicate energy use and lead to energy savings. Prototypes shown included a virtual reality home, social media architecture and an energy simulation app. In eViz we have also used thermal imaging extensively as another type of energy visualisation and on Thursday we showed new low-cost thermal imaging attachments for smartphones that are now available on the market.

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Representatives from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Michael Harrison), Innovate UK (Mark Wray), the Engineering and Physical Research Council (Glenn Goodall) and the Zero Carbon Hub (Rob Pannell) contributed keynote speeches and took part in a lively panel discussion.

Speakers

After Sabine Pahl and Pieter de Wilde presented a summary of eViz results, two invited speakers discussed eViz developments in British Columbia (Stephen Sheppard, University of British Columbia) and the UK (Alba Fuertes, Plymouth University) respectively. Alba introduced our new project enerGAware, a 3-year European project that investigates serious gaming to help social housing tenants get on top of their bill. So, Plymouth University is building its reputation in energy research and making strong links nationally and internationally.

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 Presentation slides will be available to download from this website soon. 

Public open evening event: eViz Showcase

smeaton tower very good

We will be holding a separate open event for the public in the evening, after our daytime event (see post below). There will be a showcase of the eViz findings for you to see, some demonstrations of energy visualisations and staff on hand to discuss the work.

The evening showcase will take place 7.00 – 8.30pm in the Rolle Building, Room 605, Plymouth University.  You do not need to register for this event, please feel free to turn up on the evening.

 

eViz final event – Energy visualisation: Lessons learned from the eViz project

thermal image PU

Image copyright: Matthew Fox, Environmental building group – Plymouth University

Our project on energy visualisation will soon be coming to an end and a final event will be held on September 10th in Plymouth.

This event will disseminate the findings from the eViz project as well as providing an opportunity for knowledge transfer and identifying future funding opportunities. Speakers are confirmed from DECC, EPSRC, Innovate UK, Carbon Hub, and the University of British Colombia.Click here for more information about the speakers.

For more information on the event, including the programme, and to register your attendance please follow this link.

 

Making heat visible: eViz featured in new blog post

common future

The work of the eViz team is featured in a new blog post on the ‘Our common future under climate change’ website.

From the blog:

“We found across several studies that thermal images of their own homes are really engaging to householders,” says Dr Pahl, Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Plymouth who will be presenting at the Our Common Future Under Climate Change conference in Paris from 7-10 July.

“They’re very keen to have the images taken, they show great interest in the thermographer’s approach, they share the reports we send with others around them,” she says.  

“This is against a context of general disinterest in energy-saving communications. For example two per cent or less is a typical response rate to energy companies’ campaigns.

“In our research we’ve found evidence that householders who received a thermal imaging report had lower energy bills a year later and had done more energy-saving actions such as draught-proofing.”

For the full blog go to the Our Common Future website.

This conference will be the largest forum for the scientific community to come together ahead of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21).

eViz project’s contribution to new EnerGAware project mentioned in press release

“The EnerGAware project builds on the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded project eViz (Energy Visualisation for Carbon Reduction), which aims to show people where energy is being lost in the home and how different behaviours impact upon energy usage.” Read more at: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/news/social-media-and-gaming-used-to-enhance-energy-efficiency

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EnerGAware Project Kicks-off in Barcelona

The kick-off meeting of the EnerGAware (Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities) project took place on February 18-19, at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain. The kick-off meeting had the participation of representatives of the project partners as well as the Project Office, which will follow the project from the European Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), which manages the Energy Efficiency topic of Horizon 2020. Dr Alba Fuertes, Dr Rory Jones, Dr Sabine Pahl and Prof. Pieter de Wilde all attended the meeting.

The EnerGAware project intends to achieve a 15-30% energy consumption and emissions reduction in a social housing pilot and increase the social tenants’ understanding and engagement in energy efficiency through the development of a serious game that will be linked to the actual energy consumption (smart meter data) of the game user’s home and embedded in social media and networking tools. The demonstrator pilot will be carried out in Plymouth, UK, with the participation of 100 homes.

New project: EnerGAware – Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities

A new eViz spin-off project called EnerGAware has been funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme (EE 11 2014: New ICT-based solutions for energy efficiency). The team includes Dr Alba Fuertes, Dr Rory Jones, Dr Sabine Pahl and Prof. Pieter de Wilde, plus a host of European partners.

The main objective of the EnerGAware project is to achieve a 15-30% energy consumption and emissions reduction in a social housing pilot and increase the social tenants’ understanding and engagement in energy efficiency. The EnerGAware project will develop and test, in publically owned social housing, a serious game that will be linked to the actual energy consumption (smart meter data) of the game user’s home and embedded in social media and networking tools. The EnerGAware solution will provide an innovative IT ecosystem in which users can design their own virtual home and Avatar and learn about the potential energy savings from installing energy-efficiency measures and changing user behaviour. The user will need to learn to balance the energy consumption, comfort and financial cost of their actions. Energy savings achieved both virtually in the game, calculated by building performance simulation, and in reality, in the users’ actual homes, measured through smart meter data, will enable progression in the serious game. The social media features will provide users a platform to share data of their achievements, compete with each other, give energy advice, as well as, join together to form virtual energy communities.

EnerGAware