Thesis (MSc)

Residential Resource Use Feedback: Exploring Ambient And Artistic Approaches

Supporting sustainable resource use in the home requires a range of feedback techniques to enable informed decision-making. These techniques include traditional screen-based interfaces, but such tools typically require significant effort and attention from residents. Though they provide precise numerical feedback, they do not support at-a-glance awareness of real-time resource use, nor are they designed to integrate cohesively with the home. An alternative approach is the provision of ambient and artistic visualizations integrated into the domestic environment. To situate this approach, we describe our involvement in the development of feedback and control systems for two sustainable homes. Following from this, we present the results of a mixed methods user study exploring four primary design requirements for ambient and artistic visualization of residential resource use: pragmatic, aesthetic, ambient and ecological. We conclude that these techniques are a viable approach to resource use feedback, and identify important considerations for their design.

Book Chapters

  • K. Velikov, L. Bartram, G. Thün, L. Barhydt, J. Rodgers and R. Woodbury, “Empowering the Inhabitant: Communications Technologies, Responsive Interfaces and Living in Sustainable Buildings“, in Constructing Green: Sustainability and the Places We Inhabit, Rebecca Henn and Andrew Hoffman eds. Cambridge: MIT Press (Forthcoming 2012)


  • J. Rodgers, L. Bartram. “Exploring Ambient and Artistic Visualization for Residential Energy Use Feedback”. Proceedings of InfoVis 2011, Providence, Rhode Island.
  • L. Bartram, J. Rodgers, and R. Woodbury. “Smart Homes or Smart Occupants? Supporting Aware Living”. Proceedings of Interact 2011, Lisbon, Portugal.
  • L. Bartram, J. Rodgers, R. Woodbury. “Supporting Sustainable Living: Aware Homes and Smart Occupants.” Proceedings of UbiComp 2010, Workshop on Ubiquitous Computing for Sustainable Energy.




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Simon Fraser University School of Interactive Arts & Technology