Motivating domestic energy conservation through comparative feedback in mobile applications and social networking sites

Petkov, Petromil (2011) Motivating domestic energy conservation through comparative feedback in mobile applications and social networking sites. Other thesis, Technical University of Munich.


The progress of technology has led to the increased adoption of energy monitors among household energy consumers. While the monitors available on the market deliver real-time energy usage feedback to the consumer, the form of this data is usually unengaging and mundane. Moreover, it fails to address consumers with different motivations and needs to save and compare energy. This master‟s thesis project presents a study that seeks to inform design guidelines for differently motivated energy consumers. The focus of the research is on comparative feedback supported by a community of energy consumers. In particular, the discussed comparative feedback types are explanatory comparison, temporal self-comparison, norm comparison, one-on-one comparison and ranking, whereby the last three support exploring the potential of socialising energy-related feedback in social networking sites, such as Facebook. These feedback types were integrated in EnergyWiz – a mobile application that enables users to compare with their past performance, neighbours, contacts from social networking sites and other EnergyWiz users. The application was developed through a theory-driven approach and evaluated in personal, semi-structured interviews which provided insights on how motivation-related comparative feedback should be designed. It was also employed in expert focus group discussions which resulted in defining opportunities and challenges before mobile, social energy monitors.

The findings have unequivocally shown that users with different motivations to compare and to conserve energy have different preferences for comparative feedback types and design. It was established that one of the most influential factors determining design factors is the people users compare to.

In addition, the research found that even simple communication strategies in Facebook, such as wall posts and groups can contribute to engagement with energy conservation practices. The concept of mobility of the application was evaluated as positive since it provides place and time-independent access to the energy consumption data.

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ID Code: 66730
Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Refereed: No
Additional Information: This thesis reports on a study conducted as part of a research internship at the Urban Informatics Research Lab. More information at
Keywords: Persuasive Technology, Sustainable Human-Computer Interaction, Comparative Feedback, Social Networking, Energy Monitoring, Urban Informatics, Sustainability
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > INFORMATION SYSTEMS (080600) > Computer-Human Interaction (080602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Digital and Interaction Design (120304)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Institution: Technical University of Munich
Deposited On: 03 Feb 2014 02:08
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2014 02:47

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