Human behaviour and energy demand : How behavioural science can be used to reduceenergy demand in the residential sector

University essay from KTH/Energiteknik


The threat of human induced climate change is imminent. The reason is an everyincreasing demand for energy and products, producing more and more greenhousegas emissions. Everybody needs to take responsibility now. The estimations are thatwith 2% annual energy savings from residential households 12TWh and 3.3 billionmetric tonnes of CO2 can be saved per year. Greenely, a startup from KIC InnoEnergy,wants to engage residential households to change their energy behaviour athome. They combine a smartphone application with the smart meter infrastructureto reduce households energy demand. Changing behaviour is complicated and researchprior to this thesis revealed that information and economic incentives aloneare not sufficient.A simple and proven technique to change behaviour is Nudging. A gentle pushin the right direction while leaving the freedom of choice. A popular example is aprinted fly in the men’s urinal. It nudges them to aim at the fly. The cleaning costswere reduced by 80% at the Schiphol Airport Amsterdam.Without application usage change is impossible for Greenely. Their main contacttool to households is a smartphone application. The smartphone market is vast andcompetition between applications is strong. Therefore the system outline needs toprecede Nudging for ongoing engagement and long term change. To achieve thatGamification practices are implemented. It is the incorporation of game design intonon-gaming contexts to achieve engagement through motivation and fun.This master thesis is done in cooperation with Greenely and focuses on residentialdemand reduction schemas, Nudging and Gamification. The aim is to improvetheir actual application and create an outline for an improved version that promoteslong term behaviour change. The result incorporates the most suitable features fromthe relevant topics and enables long term change.

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