Energy Wastage

Predicting Energy Thieves.
The development process of a theoretical tool to identify potential risks for
energy wastage during the usage phase of products.


With a predicted increase in household energy consumption and appliances as the most rapidly growing energy consuming category within the household sector, there is a growing recognition that increased energy efficiency alone cannot address the problem. Instead, to achieve substantial energy reduction, there is a need to not only understand and address user behavior during the usage phase of products, but also to approach a larger group of users including those who are not motivated to behave in a sustainable manner.

In this thesis, the user’s influence on the usage phase
of products has been investigated to examine what factors
affect the energy consumption and result in energy
wastage. This was accomplished through a survey to determine
users’ understanding of energy using products
and an extensive case study of a household product. In
the case study, a series of energy measurements based
on usage data from data logger readings showed that
the energy consumption to perform a specific user goal
could greatly vary between users. A set of qualitative
studies was performed to understand the reasons why.
Based on an analysis of the survey and case study, it
could be concluded that energy wastage could be attributed
to (i) users’ understanding of the product
and its energy usage, (ii) how users use the product in
their context of daily use, partly as a consequence of
the technical function and design of the user interface,
and (iii) the choice of technology related to the effectiveness
of the product’s technical design. It was also
concluded that there was a need to create a common
user understanding of when energy using products consume
energy or not as well as to design products that
are intuitively used as energy effectively as possible.
The fact that several of the users in the case study had
developed certain usage habits, many of them not optimal
from an energy perspective, emphasizes the importance
to develop products that are designed either to
cue the right habits or around existing. It is in designing
a product, that the interaction between user and product
is ultimately shaped and as a result also future habits.
We need to know what behavior is desired from an
energy perspective and design accordingly. In order to
do so, we need to understand what factors we need to
design out of the product.
A set of generic design principles and recommendations
– Three Approaches to Energy Effective Products
– has therefore been created to address how products
can achieve the lowest possible energy consumption. In
addition, a theoretical tool – Energy-ability – has been
developed with the purpose to systematically identify
potential energy wastage as a result of the user-product
interaction. This multidisciplinary tool is intended
to support product developers with different disciplinary
backgrounds in creating a common understanding
of the product and its potential energy impact during
the usage phase. With this insight, product developers
should have a better ability to improve products already
during early development phases and thereby prevent
the products from using unnecessary energy during the
usage phase.

Skriv ut Skriv ut