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Notions of ‘house’ and notions of ‘home’ their importance for interventions to reduce domestic electricity consumption Tim Harries Kingston University.

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Presentation on theme: "Notions of ‘house’ and notions of ‘home’ their importance for interventions to reduce domestic electricity consumption Tim Harries Kingston University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Notions of ‘house’ and notions of ‘home’ their importance for interventions to reduce domestic electricity consumption Tim Harries Kingston University London Enrico Costanza University of Southampton Maria das Graças Brightwell Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

2 AlertMe Metre Server Interactive web interface Data The Transforming Feedback study Increase user engagement with feedback Use visualisations to enhance consumption awareness

3 3-week trial and in-depth interviews (N=12) Residents of Chertsey, a London suburb Sampling: excluded highly numerate professions more women than men -secretary -social worker -library assistant -gardener -health worker -project manager -sales manager -homemaker etc.

4 Electricity-use is not about electricity It’s about the meanings of the activities that use electricity Effective feedback needs to mirror this Not abstract... connected with everyday life

5 The interactive interface Users could label the different parts of their electricity usage

6 ...and see what proportion of their consumption was explained by different practices

7 For householders, energy saving is about frugality, not thrift (see Evans 2001)  Not reduction in consumption for the sake of it  Reduction in waste - i.e. The use of electricity for no ‘benefit’

8 […] the principles of personal valuation and the bases of exchange and reciprocity will be […] distinguished and distinguishable from those that operate in the market and the public sphere. […] each household will reveal a particular and unique culture which provides the basis for the security and identity of the household or family as a whole, as well as that of its individual members The household is a ‘moral economy’ People are not Resource Man – efficient, rational consumers (Strengers, 2013) ‘Waste’ is a common heuristic Moral economy (Silverstone et al 1992)

9 I think I’m reasonably energy efficient and only kind of use things that I need to or that I know about. I mean people would say, do you need to leave a light on for a cat? [Laughs] No, clearly I don’t, but it’s my choice to do that. Being the big softie I am, I leave the hall light on for her; just completely ridiculous, I know. An example of the moral economy of the home

10 As a mother it’s your role to provide a good, healthy, balanced, nutritious meal and all that kind of thing: wholesome cooking. And at the same time you don’t want to use the electricity. So it’s a bit of a quarrel in my head about what is the best thing to do. Conflict between the moral economy of the home and the ‘save-energy’ discourse

11 Summary Normal people rarely behave like ‘Resource Man’ People need to be able to relate energy use to their lives: hour-by-hour visualisations vital Interaction with displays also helpful (e.g. labelling) But although less abstract visualisations of energy- use help people see how they use energy, they also remind them of why they do. This generates a conflict between the moral economy of ‘home’ and the efficiency discourse of ‘house’.

12 Thank you


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