Energy Budget

Energy Budget - Development of a service to support energy conservation in households


The world’s energy consumption is more than the planet can handle and action needs to be taken immediately. The European Union has set its goal to lower emission with 20% until 2020 according to the reference level of 1990.

In order to meet this goal we need to challenge ourselves to live in a more sustainable way, both by developing more energy efficient solutions but also by changing the way we behave especially in our homes. The aim of this master thesis has been to identify the barriers that hinder people from reducing their domestic energy consumption. The goal has been to develop a product or service that enables, encourage and/or stimulates users to achieve low impact consumption.

An interview study with 25 people regarding their experiences of energy consumption was conducted in order to identify these barriers. These were verified by a questionnaire and a co-creation session. Design strategies for sustainable behaviour were used as base for the ideation phase.

The end result is a smart phone application called Energy Budget that provides users with an individual energy budget. The budget is customized to the user’s current consumption level, making it reachable. Users get challenges and practical tips that teaches them how to lower their consumption in an exciting way. As the application doesn’t require any installation on the electricity meter, it is also suitable for people living in apartments.

This master thesis has found that people have little knowledge about what an acceptable consumption is and whether they’re above that recommendation. In order for people to become engaged consumers, eco-feedback and guidance is needed. This master thesis has found three characteristics that are important to consider when designing such a service; minimize overload, simplify and individualise.

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