smart energy

Key areaFuture Energy Use

Future Energy Use

Designing for people and sustainable practices in the smart grid.

The electrical grid as we know it has worked more or less in the same way for over a hundred years. However, great changes are taking place in this system forming the very core of modern society. New “smart” technology is directed towards energy conservation and energy production without any environmental impact. To address issues oriented towards user aspects of the future electrical grid, our key area focuses on the role of design and design research in the transition to new behavioral patterns and social practices.

In the future electrical grid, people’s consumption of electricity will have to be managed in response to supply conditions. This entails adjusting electricity use to the supply at critical times or in response to energy market prices, which will involve a change of everyday practices in relation to optimal conditions for using electrical appliances. The major goals of the research program are:

1. To develop knowledge concerning implications for people as users of the future energy system. Central issues concern how sustainable practices may be formed in relation to the future electrical grid, what kind of information is needed to attract and maintain people’s attention, and how to provide engaging interaction models. Other important aspects are privacy, automaticity of household appliances and systems, and private production of energy.

2. To develop concepts and prototypes for communicating relevant information with the purpose of engaging households in the energy shifting systems. Here we address questions dealing with how design may integrate feedback, aesthetics and playfulness to influence people’s motivation and engagement to change their practices relating to electricity consumption.

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Magnus Boman
Professor

magnus.boman [at] ri.se