project: research project – the it university of copenhagen
Collaboration: Louise Jensen, Nicolaj Sundalh & Sofie Hauge Katan
year: 2011

The Case

MOTIVATING A SUSTAINABLE ELECTRICITY USAGE
The SmartMeter is a prototype on an alternative electricity meter, which explores how interaction design can motivate a sustainable electricity usage by tapping into social discourses on environmental responsibility.

My Role

Research, setting up tests and conducting follow up interviews, analysis, academic writing.

The Challenge

The SmartMeter was inspired by the Danish goal to become almost independent of fossil fuels by the year 2050. Estimating that 80% of the power consumption, at that time, must come from sustainable sources such as wind, solar and waterpower. The challenge with sustainable power is that it is very unpredictable, meaning that windmills can only produce power when the wind blows.

 

The Prototype

The electricity meter is designed to fit a touchscreen, and is to be placed in a visible and central location in the home. By using a mix of social interaction and gamification the SmartMeter makes it easy for the user to be more environmentally aware and is a fun way for the whole family to engage in the households’ electricity consumption. The goal is for the family to move their electricity consumption to periods of time with sustainable electricity available, and lower their consumption in the other periods.

Though the SmartMeter was a prototype with a very simple interface, it proved to have strong motivational qualities in our field testings.

Outcome

In addition to the prototype, an academic paper, on how the social aspect of the SmartMeter influenced the electricity consumption, was published at the SMART ARIA CONGRESS 2012. Download paper