How do you design the future models for energy consumption? Smart grid is a huge topic, the upcoming of micro-producers a tendency. The energy providers want to enforce sustainable energy and concurrently they talk about ‘peak shaving’ – peak-shaving meaning a new collaborative way to re-distribute our collective energy consumption with the two-fold outcome: More consumption of wind energy at night and less collective cost with regards to upgrading the distribution-grid leading our energy out in the homes.
One method to design this future model for energy consumption is to design services and setups which encourage involvement. This is the approach taken by antropologerne.com in an ongoing project focusing on electricity consumption. Working from the premise that visibility, materiality and interaction in electricity consumption can encourage consumers to flexibility and to take a greater interest in their energy use, this study revolved around two key themes: the potential impact of home automation technology, and the role of community platforms and collaborative portals.
Exploring the gadget/home automation and the community platform approach provides insights, results and hopefully a new, useful perspective upon people’s attitudes and motivations when it comes to energy consumption.
antropologerne.com came to GOOD’11 to speak about this project in detail, placing it within the context of their previous work in this area. Having recently conducted a major anthropological study into electric car use, they have a wealth of experience from which to draw conclusions about how design research can help foster long-term community involvement in sustainability and re-framing energy usage projects.