Title: Identifying design opportunities for reduced household resource consumption: exploring practices of thermal comfort

Authors: Lenneke Kuijer; Annelise De Jong

Addresses: Industrial Design Engineering, Applied Ergonomics and Design, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE, Delft, The Netherlands. ' Industrial Design Engineering, Applied Ergonomics and Design, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE, Delft, The Netherlands

Abstract: Heating of dwellings forms a large portion of society's energy use. To avoid the lock-in infrastructures and increasingly demanding expectations of comfort caused by technologies that aim to offer comfort in more energy efficient ways, design should consider comfort as a variable social construct. Such a view on comfort requires a focus on social practices – the fundamental unit of analysis in theories of practice – rather than on technologies or behaviours. This paper proposes and illustrates a practice-oriented approach in which design opportunities to offer people a wider variety of ways to achieve thermal comfort are identified and explored. A study into current practices, placed into a historical and wider cultural context, revealed that there are opportunities for design in (re-)introducing person heating as an addition to increasingly dominant space heating. A 'trigger-product' study involved participants to further explore possible ways of person heating in the context of their own homes.

Keywords: sustainable behaviour; cross-cultural comparison; design research; historical analysis; household resource consumption; person heating; practice exploration; practice-oriented design; social practices; space heating; theories of practice; thermal comfort; trigger-product study; household energy consumption; energy efficiency.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2012.046140

Journal of Design Research, 2012 Vol.10 No.1/2, pp.67 - 85

Available online: 21 Mar 2012 *

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