Description: Informing energy choices using ubiquitous sensing

PI: Dr Adrian Friday, Lancaster University

Fund: £371k TEDDI 2 year

Project lifespan: Jan 2011 to Dec 2012




The project brings Computer Science, Economics, Carbon Profiling and Sociology together to explore the feasibility of identifying and informing people of ‘critical moments in their daily activities that have carbon impact‘, so they can individually and collectively make savings.


We are working with actual communities using a novel set of technological and cultural probes. We use a mixed-methods approach to understanding everyday practices and impacts: quantitative measures such as energy consumption and activity using physical sensors, combined with qualitative accounts of experiences, actions, and meanings using interviews and diary exercises. These understandings give us a platform to interrogate and shift practices in more sustainable directions.


Our papers present a series of detailed studies in the areas of energy use, cooking (and its direct & indirect impacts) and the achievement of thermal comfort in domestic settings. We offer detailed accounts of how energy use links to everyday life, and design insights at a range of low- and high tech levels intended to help reshape and reduce the impact of the practices we observe. These studies can inform future sustainability research, and the design of new technologies aimed at encouraging more sustainable practices in the home, such as entertainment & IT, cooking, and the achievement of adaptive thermal comfort.

Key outputs

Kaivanto, K. and Zhang, P. (2018). A fuel-payload ratio based flight- segmentation benchmark. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 63:548 – 559.

Kaivanto, K. and Zhang, P. (2017). Rank-order concordance among conflicting emissions estimates for informing flight choice. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 50:418 – 430.

Clear, A., Morley, J., Hazas, M., Friday, A., and Bates, O. (2013b). Understanding adaptive thermal comfort: new directions for ubicomp. In Proceedings of the 2013 ACM international joint conference on Pervasive and ubiquitous computing (UbiComp ’13). ACM.

Clear, A., Hazas, M., Morley, J., Friday, A., and Bates, O. (2013a). Domestic food and sustainable design: A study of university student cooking and its impacts. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 2447–2456.

Bates, O., Clear, A., Friday, A., Hazas, M., and Morley, J. (2012). Accounting for energy-reliant services within everyday life at home. In Kay, J., Lukowicz, P., Tokuda, H., Olivier, P., and Kru ̈ger, A., editors, Pervasive Computing 10th International Conference, Pervasive 2012, Newcastle, UK, June 18-22, 2012. Proceedings, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 107–124. Springer.

Bacon, P. M., Chowdhury, S. M., and Moffatt, P. G. (2012). Energy conservation contests as field experiments on strategic allocation of effort. In British Institute for Energy Economic Conference.

Hazas, M., Friday, A., and Scott, J. (2011). Look back before leaping forward: Four decades of domestic energy inquiry. IEEE Pervasive Computing 10, 13–19.

Academic partners

Lancaster University

Adrian Friday

Kim Kaivanto

Mark Rouncefield

Commercial partners

Archbishop Temple School

Crichton Carbon Centre,

Dartmouth College Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Open University