CORDIS - EU research results

Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EnerGAware (Energy Game for Awareness of energy efficiency in social housing communities)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-04-30

The overall objective of the EnerGAware project was 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 implementation of the Energy Cat serious game in the Plymouth social housing pilot was found to provide an average energy consumption reduction of 5.34% at the long-term horizon. Tenants were found to improve engagement in certain specific energy saving behaviours over time (i.e. setting bedroom radiators to a lower temperature than normal). Tenants were also found to report improved perceived affordability of energy bills over time, and had increased understanding of how their homes used energy over time. In addition, engagement in the programme was found to be useful in educating subjects about fuel poverty. Obtained results suggest that behaviour change may have been restricted due to a desire to maintain comfort levels, health reasons, and the fact subjects perceived they were already using very little energy. The project found evidence for a greater short-term impact on energy consumption reduction and engagement in the energy saving behaviours. Results provide useful feedback and insight which should be incorporated into the development of future serious game interventions.
Tasks performed during the first year provided a comprehensive identification and analysis of the specific user, building and game requirements necessary to design the integrated serious game and metering system solution. Requirements were defined through a large-scale, city-wide survey, administered to 2,772 social houses in Plymouth; information collected during 3 focus groups undertaken with social housing tenants; and building characteristics of all the DCH social housing stock in Plymouth. At the end of the first year, a prototype of the 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 was deployed in 88 pilot homes (44 in the experimental group and 44 in the experimental group) and the energy data collection and communication platform was set up. At the end of the second year, the beta version of the serious game, including the building energy consumption and thermal comfort simulation engine, was launched and deployed in the pilot homes of the experimental group. A new website, including a social platform for players and a section displaying player’s real energy consumption data, was launched. Data needed to define the baseline was collected by means of the tenant survey and energy consumption data were also analysed.
Tasks performed during the third year of the project focused on assessing the impact of the Energy Cat serious game. Data for evaluating the EnerGAware intervention was collected in March 2017 (mid-term evaluation) and in December 2017 (final evaluation) by sending corresponding evaluation surveys to all pilot homes. Further detailed information was gathered through face-to-face interviews and a focus group with the tenants. During the third year of the project, several actions were undertaken in order to keep the participants of the experimentation involved in the project, the pilot implementation was evaluated and maintenance tasks were performed as required. After the final evaluation tasks, the real-time energy monitoring system infrastructure was removed from the houses in the pilot. Evidence on the environmental benefits and the energy and the economic savings derived of the Energy CAt serious game were also analysed and a handbook including best practices and guidelines for replication was elaborated.
Key results of the EnerGAware project are (1) the EnerGAware ecosystem, (2) the middleware platform, (3) the EnergyCat serious game, (4) the energy data aggregation service, (5) the methodology to assess the environmental value of a gamed-based solution for energy saving, (6) the building energy consumption and thermal comfort simulation engine, (7) the new behavioural and communication principles for energy saving, and finally (8) the methodology to assess the energy use behaviour change and energy efficiency awareness of a gamed-based solution for energy saving. Results with potential commercial opportunities have been further explored by developing corresponding business models, taking into account the results of the IP process management. Other exploitation options (consulting-oriented exploitation opportunities, educational and training tool, etc.) have also been considered.
The EnerGAware project also has had a large internet presence. The main result of the EnerGAware project, the EnergyCat serious game, is available to be freely downloaded through both Google Play (Android) and the App Store (iOS) since February 2018 and accounts for more than 200 downloads outside the consortium. Consortium partners have undertaken more than 150 dissemination actions directed to interested parties. Of particular note, the EnerGAware serious game was presented as a climate solution during COP21 (Paris, December 2015) and showcased in Futur en Seine (Paris, June 2016), in the European Sustainable Energy Week (Brussels, June 2016 and June 2017), in the European Utility Week (Amsterdam, October 2017), the IECON workshop (Beijing, November 2017), etc. The EnerGAware project and the EnergyCat serious game has also appeared in the most important European and international daily newspapers and several research papers have been published in high top ranked journals.

Twitter: @EnerGAware
The EnerGAware project has made 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.
Among the impacts delivered by the EnerGAware project, it is worth to highlight an average energy consumption reduction of 5.34%. Within the Plymouth social housing pilot and isolating the weather effects, electricity savings of social tenants in the experimental group were found to amount to 3.46% whereas gas savings were found to be of 7.48% at the long-term horizon. The maximum long-term impact, estimated within a timeframe of 5 years, is found at European level when assuming that the game is distributed under the auspices of energy service providers (325,314 GWhp energy saved and more than 94 million tons of CO2e saved).
The EnerGAware project has also achieved a really positive impact on increasing the tenants’ understanding of domestic energy consumption practices and engagement in energy efficiency, as revealed in the baseline, mid-term and final surveys. EnerGAware results have also demonstrated an impact on the improved perceived affordability of energy bills over time and on the understanding of the concept of fuel poverty for the pilot tenants. Another impact of the project is its contribution in accelerating the wide deployment of innovative ICT solutions for energy efficiency.

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