Research projects to develop user-centred innovations to help reduce energy consumption

13 Aug 2010

Four innovative research projects are to receive government support to develop novel products and services to help reduce energy consumption in offices, schools, hospitals and other non-domestic buildings across the UK.

The four collaborative projects, which will receive a total of £1.28 million investment from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will look at how the demand for energy in non-domestic buildings could be reduced through encouraging changes in people's behaviour and by designing energy-related technology and services that are more user-friendly.

Explaining the background to the investment, the Technology Strategy Board's Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said:

 "Technology on its own is not the silver bullet that will reduce energy consumption. The way that people interact with buildings, and how they understand and use the technology that is available, is a key factor. If technology designed to improve the energy efficiency of a building doesn't engage with the people who use it, then the building will underperform and energy savings will be limited. 

 "Buildings, and the technology within them, need to be 'user centred' in their design. These projects will help us to better understand user-building interactions and will provide opportunities to develop innovative products and services that will help to deliver a better working environment  while lowering CO2 emissions."        

The four projects, developed during a week-long creative workshop, are:

EMPOWER: Empowering empathic energy efficiency design. Led by More Associates, EMPOWER aims to develop an innovative user-driven energy efficient product/service system, integrating creative, empathic user-centred design techniques with novel product design innovation. This project will deliver a physical product interface onto the CarbonCulture platform that is already in use by several government departments. The partners in this project are Warwick University and Brunel University.

Energy Pet. Led by Novalia Ltd, Energy Pet will combine novel interactive printed and online tools to give feedback to users on real-time electricity use in a simple and engaging manner, using clear, simple and beautiful designs and/or characters designed to be suitable for office and schools. Energy Saving Day (E-Day) Ltd and Halcrow Group Ltd are partners in this project.

The Building Banter Project. Led by Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd, the Building Banter Project will improve energy efficiency by involving building users in engaging and ongoing conversations with the building, prompting energy efficiency actions/behaviour change. For further information please see:  The partners in this project are Federal Mogul, Arup, Vitamins, More Associates, University College London, Dundee University, Leeds University and Southampton University.

YouCaretaker. Led by Slider Studio Ltd in collaboration with Arup, YouCaretaker will establish an online platform joining building occupiers with professional facilities management teams in the responsible and energy efficient running of buildings, focusing initially on office buildings.

For full press release please follow this link

Companies and other organisations seeking further information about this and other funding competitions should visit the competitions page of the Technology Strategy Board website -, email or phone the helpline on 0300 321 4357.

Issued by:  Nick Sheppard, Media Relations Consultant, Technology Strategy Board, Mobile: 07824 599644, Email:


Last updated on Monday 16 August 2010 at 13:50

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