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Energy Fit – Engaging Consumer Experiences That Lead to Better Energy Habits

Fitness wearables inspire people to change; to exercise more in order to meet their daily goals. These sophisticated gadgets gather previously untapped data about our everyday lives to give us a better understanding of ourselves – otherwise known as the “quantified self.”

Like fitness wearables, exposing how we’re using energy can unlock our collective potential to reduce our electricity bills and our impact on the environment. Without an itemized energy bill, or even better, home energy insights, we’re in the dark about how much energy home appliances use and how we can reduce energy use. Utilities have the potential to inspire people to reach their energy goals whether they are cost, usage or lifestyle related.

Disaggregation – The Basis for Home Energy Fitness

Disaggregation technology uses Smart Meter data already installed in the home to measure how much energy is used by appliances like heaters, air conditioners, pool pumps or laundry machines/dryers. Quantifying home energy use and making the information easily accessible via a modern, consumer-friendly mobile app helps people make far better decisions to save money. Providing clear and personalized tips, such as the cost and savings potential of a home’s particular dryer, goes even further to reduce energy and provide engagement. That means for the first time, homeowners can understand how to change their behavior and/or upgrade their appliances to see the biggest impact on energy bills or achieve other energy related goals.

Hooked – Making It Worth Consumers’ Time

Hook-Diagram-Action-2

The Hooked model for engagement and habits is a great one to follow when attempting to change the way people engage with energy. It’s the same model used by Fitbit. Triggers lead to Actions, Actions taken lead to Rewards, and Rewards received lead to Investment, which makes people more likely to respond to the next Trigger. Repeat cycling transitions people from response to habit. The following is an example of how the Hooked model can be used for energy change:

  1. Trigger – Consumer receives a mobile push notification: “You’re projected bill is $40 higher normal due to an 80% increase in A/C usage!”
  2. Action – Consumer taps the notification and acts on the recommendation to raise the temperature set point by 2 degrees.
  3. Reward – Bill projection comes back to the consumer’s expectation as A/C usage and cost lowers, delivered as a game or with a goal element.
  4. Investment – Consumer shares how she saved money (and helped save the planet!) on her Facebook feed.

Flipping Engagement On Its Head

Disaggregation and mobile apps give utilities the opportunity to leverage the Hooked model to instill new energy fit habits amongst consumers. It is the foundation for taking data in the home and turning it into insights for the consumer. These insights are unique to the consumer so they are more meaningful and contextually relevant in both timing and content (my appliance, my bill!).  This leads to an ability to deliver specific information about actions that matter to the end-user. Leveraging disaggregation is literally an opportunity to reinvent how utilities engage with consumers.

Originally published by Home Energy – The Home Performance Magazine on March 28th, 2016.

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Steve

I head marketing at Bidgely. With lots of history in the IoT space, energy and control (homes, buildings, cities and grid), and gaming, you'd hope I have something to say! Let's change the world - Steve