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How much electricity do you use at home? An investigation into householders' literacy for comprehending domestic electricity data

Herrmann, MR; Brumby, DP; Oreszczyn, T; (2016) How much electricity do you use at home? An investigation into householders' literacy for comprehending domestic electricity data. In: Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency (Behave 2016). Energy for Sustainability Initiative of the University of Coimbra (EfS - UC) / Portuguese Energy Agency (ADENE): Coimbtra, Portugal. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper presents the results of a field study that investigated how users read and comprehended their own residential electricity usage data. Nine UK households were provided with a commercial electricity-tracking tool. We conducted a contextual inquiry and had participants think aloud while interpreting a graphical representation of their own domestic electricity consumption data. We were particularly interested if users would be able to understand this energy usage data in relation to their everyday household routines and behaviours. A second follow-up interview was conducted with the same participants three months later to find out whether users were still using the tool and if their understanding of how they use electricity in the home had changed. We found that energy literacy varied greatly within our sample of thirteen users. Across the sample, data comprehension for the graphic representation of the recorded electricity data was poor. The information feedback does not reflect everyday routines and therefore most users do not succeed in linking data patterns with performed actions in the household. The majority of our participants had stopped monitoring their consumption within the first few weeks or months. Those who kept monitoring did not report significant improvement in their understanding.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: How much electricity do you use at home? An investigation into householders' literacy for comprehending domestic electricity data
Event: 4th European Conference on Behaviour and Energy Efficiency (Behave 2016)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.uc.pt/en/org/inescc/org_scientific_even...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Electricity feedback, energy literacy, graphic representations, disaggregation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > UCL Interaction Centre
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1524162
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