Bee Box Workshop and the Slovenian PEOPLE Case Study

PEOPLE students, academic and industry mentors attended a facilitated workshop, using an innovative communication tool called Bee Box to debate the Slovenian PEOPLE case study and to orient the course of their research.

In the Slovenian PEOPLE case study, a team of social science students is researching energy consumption in two adjoined buildings of the University of Ljubljana. The Faculty of Computer and Information Science and Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering are

Slovenian PEOPLE case study, energy efficiency, basement, pumps, valves, meters, energy data
The Slovenian PEOPLE team got acquainted with the motors, pumps, and valves in the building’s basement

equipped with a number of devices, sensors, valves, pumps, and motors.  The buildings are also equipped with systems that control, measure, and monitor heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting, while many parts of the system are automated. Our industry partner Metronik’s energy information system MePIS Energy is a tool that analyses energy data and allows users to monitor energy consumption and improve the building’s energy efficiency.

People-Centred Research on Energy-Related Behaviour in Buildings

What about the building’s occupants? Some of them have access to interacting with certain parts of the system, while others do not. How do the students, academic, administrative, and technical staff experience the indoor environment? How does it influence their wellbeing and health? What do energy use and energy efficiency mean to them? How do they interact with the system and the building? Do they try to hack the system, if they feel it doesn’t respond well to their actual needs and requirements? These are some of the questions our PEOPLE students have been tackling in these first months of the Learning Cycle using people-centred research and development approaches. The students are conducting participant observation in classrooms during lectures or on hallways during breaks. Furthermore, they are doing open-ended interviews with researchers, who spend prolonged time in their cabinets and labs, as well as with technical staff accessing Metronik’s displays and energy-related analyses. The students work in an interdisciplinary team alongside engineers and use both quantitative and qualitative approaches, thus combining combine ethnographic data with data analyses from sensors to study energy-related behaviour.

Orienting the Slovenian PEOPLE Case Study with Bee Box

Slovenian PEOPLE case study, Bee Box, workshop, co-creative
Slovenian PEOPLE team using Bee Box tool to orient their research

To share the preliminary research findings and orient the course of the ongoing research, all students, industry mentors and academic mentors took part in a co-creative workshop. The workshop was facilitated by Joery Schotanus, who designed an innovative tool called the Bee Box. The tool enables the users to collect input from each individual team member, from where a strategy can be designed. In this way, the team were able to visualise the complexity of the Slovenian PEOPLE case study in order to increase the understanding around several key topics. Through the discussion, the participants came up with keywords that were written on the cards and continued to rearrange the cards into clusters as their discussion evolved. Therefore, the Bee Box tool acted as a visual communication tool and an innovative tool for framing the research questions and forthcoming tasks.

Interested in how the Slovenian case study will unfold? Will the people-centred development approaches have a positive impact on energy consumption in the buildings? Follow our News section, or connect with the PEOPLE team through our Facebook and Twitter pages. Read more about the PEOPLE Learning Cycles and the Czech, Dutch, and UK case studies here.