From February – May 2022, around 200 energy-saving foxes (aka. Residents from Winterthur, and the regions of Wil and Schaffhausen) took an intensive look at their energy consumption at home. We all learned a lot: the participants about their energy consumption, and the project team about how the app can be further improved.
In the three regional energy-saving competitions, each of which lasted a week, we were able to crown the Wil region the winner, all three times! The race was extremely close each time, and during the week first place was often changing between regions. With savings in the ranging between 15% and 33%, a lot of energy was saved – always measured against the previous month’s weekly average. Overall, savings were impacted by seasonal effects, since with rising temperatures from January to April, less heating energy is consumed.
During the three months of Phase 1, the research team was in intensive exchange with the participants:by email, via the pinboard in the app, or at the three online meetings that were held during this time. On the one hand, individual energy consumption patterns were discussed and temporary malfunctions were reported and dealt with via these various channels, and on the other hand, a great deal of valuable feedback and suggestions for improvements to the app were received. At the third meeting, for example, we learned that the savings comparison with other households was most popular.
In the app, the participants have the opportunity to exchange information and ask questions on a thematically structured pinboard. This was actively used, and experiences and tips on activities and technologies were shared, as well as questions from others were answered. From initial feedback we have learned that this kind of exchange among like-minded people is very valuable and motivating.
At the end of this first phase, participants will receive a second online questionnaire, where we will investigate their changes in energy knowledge and behaviour, as well as gather feedback on the app.
In the next phase until the end of 2022, participants will still be able to use the Social Power Plus app, with their energy consumption still being updated and displayed daily. The energy saving tips, the challenges and the pinboard will also remain. However, there will be no more regional energy saving competitions and no new challenges.
We wish the participants an enjoyable summer and keep an eye on how your energy consumption changes with the seasons!