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Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EnerGAware (Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-01-31

The overall objective of the EnerGAware project is to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions between 15-30% in a sample of European social housing by changing the energy efficiency behaviour of the social tenants through the implementation of a serious game linked to the real energy use of the participants’ homes.
The serious game to be developed and deployed in the EnerGAware project is expected to increase the social tenants’ understanding and awareness of the options for reducing energy consumption in residential buildings. The energy consumption of the social housing pilots, as well as the awareness, attitudes, engagement and self-reported behaviours of the social tenants will be assessed both pre- and post-implementation of the serious game.
The project will investigate whether a serious game integrated with the energy metering system of the home could encourage behaviour change in the residential sector. We envision that, should the project indicate our approach to provide tangible benefits, the serious game could be distributed freely to energy customers by energy providers in the form of a free to download PC/laptop, tablet or smart phone application, as part of the European Smart Meter roll-out.
Tasks performed during the first year provided a comprehensive identification and analysis of the specific user, building and game requirements necessary to design the EnerGAware integrated serious game and metering system solution. Requirements were defined through(1) literature review; (2) a large-scale, city-wide survey, administered to 2,772 social houses in Plymouth during 2015; (3) game experience and feature preferences collected during three focus groups undertaken with social housing tenants in Plymouth during 2015 and (4) building characteristics of all the DCH social housing stock in Plymouth. At the end of the first year of the project, a prototype of the serious game was released and tested in further focus groups with social tenants. The methodology to monitor, evaluate and verify the effects of the serious game was also developed during the first 12 months of the project.
During the second year of the project, the energy monitoring system has been deployed in 88 pilot homes (44 in the experimental group and 44 in the experimental group). Further work carried out during the second year of the project also included setting up the energy data collection and communication platform. At the end of the second year, the beta version of the serious game, including the building energy consumption and thermal comfort simulation engine, has been launched and deployed in the pilot homes of the experimental group. A new website, including information about the game but also a social platform for players to share and learn energy-related information and a section displaying player’s real energy consumption data, has also been published. Data needed to define the baseline have already been collected by means of the tenant survey (e.g. energy behaviour, awareness, IT literacy, etc.) and the deployed energy monitoring systems and has been analysed.
Long -term dissemination and exploitation plans have been further updated during the second year of the project. During the first year, a strong emphasis was put on setting both innovative (social media networks, etc.) and traditional tools (project website, newsletters, etc.). During the second year, the consortium has maintained the activity in these communication tools and developed new ones according to the evolution of the project such as the game website, posters and videos. Up until now, EnerGAware has reached 274 followers on social media networks and 520 average monthly visits to the website. The consortium has carried out 105 dissemination actions, mainly directed towards the social tenants participating in the pilot, the general public and the scientific society. Of particular note, the EnerGAware serious game was presented as a climate solution during COP21 (Paris, December 2015) and showcased in Futur en Seine, a digital an innovation festival (Paris, June 2016). During the second year of the project, the consortium has identified nine project results. Three of them (the Energy Cat serious game, the energy data aggregation service and the middleware platform) have been further analysed by means of the PESTLE, SWOT and Canvas business model analysis.

Twitter: @EnerGAware
The EnerGAware project is making significant advances beyond the current state-of-the-art, in a range of different areas including, reducing energy consumption in social housing, serious gaming, internet of things, building and occupant modelling, behaviour change psychology, and social media and networking.
Regarding energy efficiency in social housing, past research initiatives have mainly focused on displaying real-time energy consumption data and optimising energy management using ICT systems. The EnerGAware project is developing and testing the effect of providing social tenants with a serious game, that is both linked to social media and networking tools and to the actual energy consumption (smart meter data) of the house in which the game user lives.
In relation to serious gaming, the EnerGAware serious game is the first combining real-time energy consumption of the home in which the game player lives, with energy saving feedback and rewards. The EnerGAware serious game goes beyond existing e-learning solutions and games as it is designed to appeal to the new generation of digital natives and to trigger them to stay engaged, play, absorb and learn. The game is also linked to social media and networking tools.
Regarding internet of things (IoT), current games regarding energy consumption either use simulated data, or data collected once. To improve the realism of the game, and the educative impact on the final user, cyber-physical systems are collecting data from the user’s house. `
Within the field of building and occupant modelling, the incorporation of building simulation into a serious game creates a step change in the use of this technology in virtual or augmented realities. While this idea has been around for over a decade, EnerGAware creates a demand-driven approach towards simulation, which contrasts to the technology-push approach of current efforts.
In relation to behaviour change psychology, the project will deliver principles and insights that transcend the transient nature of current ICT-based solutions for energy efficiency. This will provide a basis for further development of ICT-based solutions that can be used to enable people to achieve energy savings.
Regarding social media and networking, the project explores whether social networking sites may be able to play a role in helping to support behavioural change, both structurally and by shaping beliefs and culture.
Expected impacts delivered by the EnerGAware project are:
− Systemic energy consumption and production and carbon emissions reduction between 15% and 30%
− Accelerate wide deployment of innovative ICT solutions for energy efficiency
− Greater consumer understanding and engagement in energy efficiency
− Reduction in fuel poverty/percentage of household income spent on energy bills
− Substantial increase in the level of attitudes towards IT
− Substantial increase of the tenants feeling of community

More information is available at
Screenshot of the game prototype available at the end of month 12
Image of the game. Beta version at month 24
Image of the game. Beta version at month 24
Image of the game. Beta version at month 24
Image of the game. Beta version at month 24
Image of the game. Beta version at month 24
Image of the game. Beta version at month 24