O.e.i. (Our Energy Information) is an OLED touch screen light switch that presents live information on energy use to home owners. It is a control and feedback system that motivates people to play along and save by presenting them electricity information. The screen displays the information using clever animations and graphics that show one two or three types of information on use. The switches receive and send information using radio frequencies sent through the existing network of power lines connecting homes and power plants.
If someone can afford it why should they care about how much energy they use. How do you get people to change their behavior. Everyone says they want to be green. Saying and doing are two different things. If you are doing how can you prove it? This is why it is critical to have feedback where the control is. These are the three areas I identified of information that stimulates action in people.
Price fluxuates with demand, There are peak hours and off peak hours. If given current price information people can choose to spend less and put less demand on the electric grid. In return energy companies have less of a demand to meet requiring fewer new power plants to be built.
How do you know what is too much? Is the size of your bed too big, too little, or just right? In the case of energy use, too little is “just right” for Little Red Riding Hood. When people know if they are using too much or if they are using an acceptable amount, they do not have an excuse for being energy gluttons. By setting an acceptable use for a house based on size and occupants, people can pace themselves. Essentially this is a BMI, body mass index for homes. The information tells people when they are overweight.
People respond to being in a group. There are different types of groups and different powerful motivating factors. In terms of energy use, making a connection to others is critical to influencing behavior. Knowing how your use compares to those around you can have powerful effects. I conducted a survey and well over 90% of the people agreed that if their information was displayed it would change their use habits.