Dr Paul Thorsnes

What we’re doing

There are many paths a household can take to become more energy efficient in day-to-day household activities, so many that it’s often difficult to choose which path makes good sense for a particular household. A key problem is that the methods for improving energy efficiency vary across numerous dimensions or ‘attributes’, such as value for money, reliability and aesthetics.

It’s not that information about the attributes of alternative methods is unavailable, but that it can be difficult for householders to sort through it all and find what will work well in their situation. To help, we’re building an on-line tool called “Personalised Energy Priorities” (PEP) that prioritises alternative methods for improving household energy efficiency based on the attributes a householder cares most about. The tool then provides information and links to more information about these methods.

What we’ve found out so far

Click here to use PEP for renters

We have developed two trial versions of PEP, one for owner/occupiers and one for renters. We recruited 149 owner/occupiers to trial the tool, and 85% of these reported that they found it easy or very easy to use. Their choices revealed considerable differences in preferences: almost everyone cared about value-for-money, but all of the 17 other attributes were considered important by at least someone, and 12 of the attributes were important to significant proportions of them.

Click here for research summary

This work helps us better understand the substantial variability in householders’ preferences for different attributes of energy efficiency improvements. This will help evaluate and tailor policies to increase uptake.

The PEP for renters was trialed by more than 500 students in rental housing. Like the owner/occupiers, they showed a wide range of preferences for attributes. Most also found the trial version of PEP easy to use, and the information interesting and likely to encourage changes in how they do things in their flats. The results have provided insights into further refinements for PEP.