Learning Energy Systems is a research project from the University of Edinburgh that uses design-led research methods to explore possibilities for the development of energy systems that are better integrated into communities’ complex social and cultural settings. Building on previous research into ambiguity as a resource for interpretation and reflection with interactive systems, we are interested in investigating possibilities for placing people; as sensors of conditions; as drivers of energy demand; as individuals; and as a collective, at the heart of the energy system. Can creating devices and activities that prioritise human needs and comfort, and that better align them with the requirements of a building’s technical energy system, uncover new paths to reducing overall energy demand?
To investigate this question we have worked with our participating schools to develop several activities and prototypes.
The Kilowatt Clocks (pictured) are a set of electricity meters that visualise the amount of electricity being used in a classroom. The more electricity being used, the faster the yellow disc spins, giving people in the classroom a live and visual feedback on how their actions contribute to the schools electricity usage.