CHI 2013
Conference paper

The Dubuque Electricity Portal: Evaluation of a city-scale residential electricity consumption feedback system

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This paper describes the Dubuque Electricity Portal, a cityscale system aimed at supporting voluntary reductions of electricity consumption. The Portal provided each household with fine-grained feedback on its electricity use, as well as using incentives, comparisons, and goal setting to encourage conservation. Logs, a survey and interviews were used to evaluate the user experience of the Portal during a 20-week pilot with 765 volunteer households. Although the volunteers had already made a wide range of changes to conserve electricity prior to the pilot, those who used the Portal decreased their electricity use by about 3.7%. They also reported increased understanding of their usage, and reported taking an array of actions - both changing their behavior and their electricity infrastructure. The paper discusses the experience of the system's users, and describes challenges for the design of ECF systems, including balancing accessibility and security, a preference for time-based visualizations, and the advisability of multiple modes of feedback, incentives and information presentation. Copyright © 2013 ACM.