Save energy, and have fun

By 5 March 2019Scenario

Energy-saving behaviours in households can be encouraged by combining smart technologies with gamification techniques. In a recently published paper, some researchers from the enCOMPASS project discussed preliminary results of the end-user app that was offered to a group of voluntary users.

The enCOMPASS project is funded by the EU Commission under the Horizon 2020 program. It is expected to reduce energy consumption (electricity and heating) and related CO2 emissions up to 20-25% in residential houses, schools, and public administration offices through a highly innovative ICT platform leveraging data generated from smart sensors to feed user-friendly digital tools, and providing energy recommendations by applying advanced consumer behaviour models.

The proof-of-concept prototype app allows users to monitor energy-related data in different ways, for instance with metaphor-based visualisations (a battery to show the progress of energy consumption, a piggy bank to picture the monetary impact, etc.), or data-driven bar charts. Users receive energy-saving tips in a static (browsing) and in a personalised manner (recommendations), which are delivered as mobile notifications. To nudge users to read these recommendations, gamification elements are used (points and badges), and personalized incentivisation messages are also given.

Results of preliminary alpha test prove that most users appreciate the app in their daily life, and find it motivating to save energy and act responsibly. All participants stated that it moves them to see how much money they could save, and how much CO2 they could save. Users enjoy energy-saving tips, they feel particularly motivated by gamification elements such as points and badges, tangible rewards, less by the leaderboard.

The enCOMPASS app will be further perfected and tested, possibly extending it to all households and organisations that joined the pilots projects currently running in Germany, Switzerland and Greece.

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