On Saturday 9th November, about 35 designers, developers, makers, researchers and other interesting people came together at the Science Museum’s Dana Centre. We had everyone from energy startups to service designers, venture capital to building performance and energy consultants, along with participants from our SusLabNWE partner organisations, Chalmers (Gothenburg) and Imperial College London. (Full list of people who signed up).
The hackday brought together both more ‘technological’ and more ‘human’ perspectives on energy use in the home, with a range of interests, experience and expertise.
As such, while we had a table of electronic prototyping bits – and more brought by participants, and kindly lent by Imperial - groups were free to use whatever methods they liked to explore, prototype and demonstrate their ideas, including digital and paper prototyping.
And they did: over the course of 12 hours of intensive (but hopefully fun) work, teams addressed two quite broad briefs / themes arising from our co-creation work with householders earlier this summer and autumn:
In/visibility of energy
▶ Householders have told us that not being able to ‘see’ the energy they use (and what’s actually using it) limits their ability to change how they use it. This doesn’t just mean visualisation via numbers and graphs – what could be new ways of communicating energy? Following on from this, are there opportunities for more ambient (e.g. audio) interfaces for energy use?
▶ Heating uses the largest proportion of energy in homes, but the area of thermal comfort is complex and it is not as simple as merely turning down the thermostat. Can we look at this question not directly through temperature, but instead from the perspective of householders’ comfort and their sense of control over the home environment?Continue reading