The Kilowatt Clock, the Energy Diary and the Pupil. A Story of Building User Involvement in Energy Management

Catherine Carter, Mark Selby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Schools buildings often use 50% more electrical energy than the design models show. Much of this is associated with ‘unregulated’ energy, which is unpredicted energy use often aligned to individuals and groups of building users. Involving building users in the management of energy use offers opportunities to reduce energy consumption and diminish wasteful practices. This paper presents a case study of a ‘Living Lab’ used to develop ways for school communities to see and engage with energy use in their buildings.

Building users (school pupils; teachers; and building managers) took part in a Living Lab to explore the energy use in the classroom. The concept of the Living Lab supported a number of phases: discovery; storytelling; prototyping; testing; and design. This had the aim of finding out what energy use looks like from the perspective of a school child within the wider organisational ‘system’ that is a school. As the Living Lab evolved it was evident that the building users had very little connection between the formally managed energy systems, and their daily behaviours towards energy use. Storytelling design methodology, through prototyping, testing and design led to the development of the ‘Kilowatt Clock’ and ‘Energy Diary app’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPLEA 2016 Conference Proceedings
EditorsPablo La Roche
Place of PublicationLos Angeles
PublisherPLEA (Passive and Low Energy Architecture)
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2016


  • energy, awareness, behaviour, schools

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