Bringing behavioural change to energy efficiency

The ENTROPY project is developing an IT ecosystem to motivate behavioural changes in energy usage.
Published: Tue 09 Jan 2018

Engaging consumers with their energy use and encouraging them to become more sustainable has long been a challenge, mostly utilising data from smart meters and appliance disaggregation or energy savings tips. But the ENTROPY project is a little different.

Taking advantage of developments towards an Internet of Things (IoT), the EU Horizon 2020 supported initiative has been set up with the broader view to collect data from a range of sources, in addition to smart meters, and to collate and present it in a form that will deepen user understanding and engagement.

“The vision of ENTROPY is to design and deploy an innovative IT ecosystem to motivate behavioural change,” says Fernando Terroso-Saenz, Research Fellow at the University of Mercia in Spain, which is leading the multi-disciplinary project consortium.

Technology concepts

Terroso-Saenz explains that the ecosystem is built on four technology concepts, with the IoT and mobile crowd sensing gathering information on the energy consumption and usage in buildings and the energy behaviours of their occupants.

These are then aggregated and analysed with semantic modelling to provide energy efficient lifestyle recommendations and for gamification, which is emerging as a practical tool for user engagement.

In this context, users include both building administrators and the individual energy end users.

“Our aim is to provide personalised information to the users,” says Terroso-Saenz.

In consideration of this, two games have been developed which are currently being beta tested – an avatar-based game for more competitive users with score and ranking outcomes and an ‘energy patrol’ game for less competitive participants with messaging outcomes.

Pilot projects

The ENTROPY platform is currently being deployed in three pilot projects, with tests now getting under way with users, Terroso-Saenz notes..

These are in the Navacchio Technology Park near Pisa in Italy, on the University of Murcia campus in southeastern Spain, and at the Technopole research centre in Sierre in Switzerland.

Together, these offer a range of building types, including offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, laboratories, an auditorium, library, restaurant, kindergarden and social housing.

Focussing in on the Spanish pilot, Terroso-Saenz says that data sources being compiled include energy consumption, building occupancy, HVAC usage and indoor conditions including temperature, humidity and lighting, along with weather and other external environmental data.

Data analysis case

Beyond the pilots, the project also has focused on forward energy consumption prediction using different models on the collected data, with the finding that this can be done “quite accurately” several days ahead.

“We now intend to link these to enable the provision of more accurate recommendations.”

With field testing at an early stage, the results will be of considerable interest in building knowledge onhow much energy behaviour can be influenced and the efficacy of games in this context.