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The design of energy efficient everyday practices
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (TEVS)
2015 (English)In: eceee 2015 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency: eceee Summer Studies Proceedings / [ed] Therese Laitinen Lindström, Daniel Mossberg, Michael Laitinen, Ylva Blume & Jason Erwin, Stockholm: European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE), 2015, Vol. 3, 1611-1619 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Activity-centred design has been proposed as a way to encourage energy-efficient practices. This approach suggests that “good” designs can improve communication between the sender and receiver of a message, for example, “save energy”. The approach also concerns recent advances in research into how objects can be inscribed to steer users in certain directions. The approach has been expanded to include not only the use of individual things but the practices of everyday life. This paper examines design issues related to everyday practices and reports on findings in three household domains crucial to efforts to influence household behaviour to promote energy-efficient everyday lives: a bright and comfortable home (lighting, heating, and cooling), food and entertainment (storing food, cooking, Internet, and TV), and personal appearance (clothes washing and self-care). The findings are based on qualitative data from Swedish research in which three household domains were explored by visiting 32 homes and conducting 32 in-depth interviews. To complement the user perspective, observations and informal interviews with staff members of a public housing company were also included. Results indicate that conscious designs were seldom used to influence user practices; instead, general written information and regulations were more common tools for addressing users. Written information is not an efficient tool, and regulations are not perceived positively by households, which try to by-pass them. Current designs, instead of communicating energy efficiency, convey random messages unaligned with energy-efficiency objectives. This confuses users and makes it difficult for household members to take the “right” actions in everyday life. Recommendations to housing companies are to focus on both product and organizational designs to better target energy efficiency goals. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE), 2015. Vol. 3, 1611-1619 p.
Keyword [en]
energy efficiency, housing, design, everyday life
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-119567ISBN: 978-91-980482-7-8OAI: diva2:824633
eceee 2015 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2015-06-22 Created: 2015-06-22 Last updated: 2015-07-06

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