Energy Game Changers

Changing behaviour through gameification

Project duration: January 2017 ongoing

Energy Game Changers is an innovative new project led by Legendary Games, in partnership with CSE and University of Nottingham. Game Changers aims to make information about household energy levels accessible by gamifying live data received from sensors placed around the home. The aim of the project is to create an engaging platform that will enable householders to better understand how their behaviour impacts their energy bills.

The project will do this through the game “My House”. My House will allow users to create a sophisticated virtual model of their home, and will then use live data collected from sensors to allow them to interact with this data through the game interface. The sensors will collect data on internal temperature, external temperature, light levels, relative humidity and energy consumption as well as integrating data from smart meters to create an accurate virtual representation of users’ homes.

Once they have set up their virtual home, game users will be encouraged to undertake energy “missions” to improve the efficiency of their home. CSE is advising on the energy and fuel scenarios users are likely to face, and designing missions around these common experiences.  The missions can either be technical, e.g. installing a new boiler, or behavioural e.g. changing the thermostat temperature, or opening a window.

The project grew out of CharIoT, a project which researches how the Internet of Things (IoT), or smart devices, can be used to support vulnerable people in keeping their homes adequately heated, and in making energy efficiency adaptions. But it aims to go further in experimenting with how to present data in a fun and engaging game-setting. Through playing the game, users will be able to gain an in-depth understanding of how their home uses energy, and how they can improve energy efficiency.

According to CSE’s project lead, Nick Banks, this sort of data visualization is sorely needed: “For a lot of people, monitoring energy is boring, unless you can understand it in relation to your own habits. But people need to be engaged in their energy use in order to make the most of the capacity that smart meters offer. This game goes much further than the displays that accompany many smart meters, and will really help people to visualize how they use energy – as well as make improvements to the efficiency of their homes”.

Users will also be able to share their data with friends and collect points for efficiency improving behaviours. Legendary Games hope to monetize the game and sell it widely in countries using smart meters. The project is being funded by Innovate UK and will run until the end of the year.

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