This project explored the design of a domestic Energy Consumption Display (ECD) that creates a greater awareness of energy consumption through interaction and the visualisation of in-home energy use.
Electricity has become invisible to users. Too often energy is seen only as an on/off switch that gives life to an otherwise inanimate object.
Current energy display devices, which consist of numeric panels and technical data representations, can create an information clutter rather than a calm and pleasant initial insight into energy saving which has been shown to be desirable in the home environment.
The proposition offered by this design research is that interfaces can offer visually pleasing representations of energy usage, through the combination of lighting patterns and simple physical control gestures, rather than numerous button presses and confusing numeric displays.
Research undertaken during this project has defined the foundation of the design for an interactive and user friendly Energy Cube.
The user awareness is generated through embedded LED light matrices that provide real-time data visualisations of energy through the use of light.
As users turn appliances on and off around the house, they can see the changes in their energy consumption automatically displayed on the Energy Cube.
Once the users have gained a greater understanding of how they are using energy, the ECD helps encourage a behavioural change towards greater energy saving. By enhancing user awareness, they gain a new or greater appreciation of their energy consumption and ultimately change the way they use energy in their life.
The Cube’s minimalist shape ensures the user focus is on the important information being conveyed
and allows the device to be easily interpreted. As the Cube is rotated, each facet provides a different phase of consumption history. The design of the Energy Cube compliments the existing in-home decor and fits seamlessly into the context of everyday living.
The concept creates a greater awareness of energy consumption through the continuous inflow of information and the provocative encouragement of playful engagement.