July 2014 and September-October 2014
"I learnt about some energy saving tips and enjoyed hearing about people’s personal opinions of energy. The house I found the most practical for personal energy saving and most useful.”
As part of the Evaluating Low Carbon Communities (EVALOC) research project, the Low Carbon Building Group (part of OISD) has helped to create an installation to be part of an interactive community energy exhibition. The ‘A Sense of Energy’ exhibition included exhibits from Cardiff University, Goldsmiths College and Keele University, and was funded by the Research Councils UK.
The EVALOC installation used thermal imaging and carbon mapping to help ‘visualise’ energy. By airbrushing the colours normally seen in a thermal image onto a doll’s house, it provided an innovative way of demonstrating heat losses from a typical Victorian terrace as well as providing recommendations on how to reduce such heat losses. The carbon mapping showed the changes in a community’s estimated domestic household energy use, before and after local community energy action.
The exhibition ran in London in July 2014 and in Cardiff from September until October 2014. In Cardiff, the exhibition had workshops and chances to talk to researchers and visitors about methods, issues and the exhibition work.
The exhibition was very successful, and allowed the researchers to stray from their typical world of academic journals in order to convey research findings to the general public in more imaginative and appealing ways. The exhibition created a comfortable environment for a wide variety of people to openly discuss energy and learn ways of saving energy themselves; “I learnt about some energy saving tips and enjoyed hearing about people’s personal opinions of energy. The house I found the most practical for personal energy saving and most useful.”
EVALOC is a project within the Low Carbon Building Group which uses physical monitoring and surveys of case study households involved in local community energy projects to assess, explain and communicate how community activities cause changes in energy use, and behaviours. The households are within six case study communities across the UK, which participated in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) Low Carbon Communities Challenge (which ran from 2010 to 2012). The community groups used a variety of approaches including technical (low carbon technologies), physical (retrofitting of existing dwellings) and behavioural (energy awareness and management programmes; energy display monitors), with the intention to reduce energy use in their local community. The Low Carbon Building Group researchers involved include Professor Rajat Gupta, Laura Barnfield, Matt Gregg, Bob Irving and Chiara Fratter.
Thanks to Cardiff University and Goldsmiths College, as well as the designer, Rachel Murphy, for putting together this very successful exhibition.