Understanding domestic energy consumption through interactive visualisation: A field study

Enrico Costanza, SD Ramchurn, NR Jennings
in UbiComp'12 - Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Conference paper (text)


Motivated by the need to better manage energy demand in the home, in this paper we advocate the integration into Ubicomp systems of interactive energy consumption visualisations, that allow users to engage with and understand their consumption data, relating it to concrete activities in their life. To this end, we present the design, implementation, and evaluation of FigureEnergy, a novel interactive visualisation that allows users to annotate and manipulate a graphical representation of their own electricity consumption data, and therefore make sense of their past energy usage and understand when, how, and to what end, some amount of energy was used. To validate our design, we deployed FigureEnergy "in the wild" - 12 participants installed meters in their homes and used the system for a period of two weeks. The results suggest that the annotation approach is successful overall: by engaging with the data users started to relate energy consumption to activities rather than just to appliances. Moreover, they were able to discover that some appliances consume more than they expected, despite having had prior experience of using other electricity displays. Copyright 2012 ACM.