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Identification of Innovative Energy Behavior

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

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.

Thematic Framework

Energy savings potential within each end use and principle are quantified. The researchers also reported barriers that interviewees identified at the individual and institutional level. This work offers an approach to identifying and prioritizing energy-saving options that are currently uncommonly applied in mainstream culture, with the intent of guiding further development such as redesign, overcoming barriers and promoting widespread adoption.

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.