Sensors & Behavior (ARPA-E) > Behavioral Interventions

Identification of Innovative Energy Behavior

Are we inventing the energy-efficiency wheel? Can we adapt practices and technologies from other cultures and time periods to produce substantial home energy savings?


End use (vertical) vs. emergent principles (horizontal)

Investigators: Carrie Armel, Marilyn Cornelius, Nicole Ardoin, Larsen Plano, Brett Bridgeland, Luke Morton, Martin Chang, Amy Allen

This bottom-up project interviewed "extreme users," like energy experts, historians, do-it-yourself people aiming for very large energy reductions, and people who have lived in harsh climates, to create an opportunity map that prioritized homegrown energy-saving practices for further development and promotion. Researchers evaluated more than 100 energy-saving options including actions, products, and home adjustments organized by end use,(space heating and cooling, water heating, cooking, and refrigeration), and these emergent principals: eliminating energy waste; insulation and sealing; air flow and evaporative cooling; reflection and shading; absorption, storage and thermal mass; alternative and latent energy; and acclimatization and adaptation.

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Publications and Presentations

Identifying Opportunities for Dramatic Energy Reductions in Residences
Manuscript in preparation
Armel, C., Cornelius, M., Ardoin, N., Plano, L., Bridgeland, B., Morton, L., Chang, M., Allen, A.

Identifying the Most Promising Options for Residential Energy Savings
Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference
Cornelius, M., Armel, C. & Ardoin, N. (2011)

Future work

This work will be shared with designers and policy makers in an attempt to disseminate the practices or principles identified that could be adapted for our culture to facilitate deeper energy savings. This approach may also be extendable beyond residential buildings in areas such as, for example, the food, transportation, and small and medium commercial building sectors.