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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Behaviour Change at Work: empowering energy efficiency in the workplace through user-centred design

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 3.0 license

CO2 emissions from non-domestic buildings - primarily workplaces - make up 18 percent of the UK's carbon footprint. A combination of technology advances and behavioural changes have the potential to make significant impact, but interventions have often been planned in ways which do not take into account the needs, levels of understanding and everyday behavioural contexts of building users - and hence do not achieve the hoped-for success.This paper provides a brief introduction to the Empower project, a current industrial-academic collaboration in the UK which is applying methods from user-centred design practice to understand diverse users' needs, priorities, mental models of energy and decision-making heuristics - as well as the affordances available to them - in a number of office buildings. We are developing and trialling a set of low-cost, simple software interventions tailored to multiple user groups with different degrees of agency over their energy use, which seek to influence more energy efficient behaviour at work in areas such as HVAC, lighting and equipment use. The project comprises an ethnographic research phase, a participatory design programme involving building users in the design of interventions, and iterative trials in a large office building in central London.

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