4 Case Studies – Learning Cycle 2
In the 2nd Learning Cycle, the four national teams of social science and humanities students, mentored jointly by academic and industry mentors, worked on the second set of exciting, industry-relevant challenges, using people-centred design and development approaches. The 2nd Learning Cycle concluded with a two-day Co-Creation Camp in Ljubljana.
Slovenian case study
In the 2nd Learning Cycle, the Slovenian team of anthropology students were working on two topics aimed at improving the carbon footprint and minimising the use of resources in buildings: energy and waste. The key focus of the case study was to analyse energy and waste practices in the case study building, different technological and also non-technological approaches and interventions to influence the energy- and waste-related behaviour of building occupants. The building of the Faculty of Arts (University of Ljubljana) served as the main pilot case, where also the industry partner’s energy information system MePIS Energy is installed as part of the University of Ljubljana’s wider energy strategy. The students implemented people-centred development approaches to provide recommendations for enhancing energy efficient behaviour and setting up an awareness-raising campaign or designing an intervention strategy and plan.
UK case study
In the 2nd Learning Cycle, Durham University collaborated with the Low Carbon Economy Team of Durham County Council, which identifies, develops and implements innovative projects to reduce carbon emissions and develop low carbon economic growth opportunities for the county. They are currently producing a new electric vehicle strategy and the student research aimed to contribute by answering the question: ‘How can Durham County Council help sustain and encourage the growth of EV’s in Durham City?’ Following a few successful meetings between students, faculty and the DCC, they have collaboratively set out the following objectives: identifying the dominant barriers to EV uptake, understanding the current experience of EV drivers, locating the current available infrastructure, identifying valuable sources of information to EV users and examining examples of uptake in other locations for comparison. To reach these objectives, the students used a variety of methods, including: interviewing current/previous EV owners, attempting to purchase an EV to understand the processes involved, as well as a review of existing academic literature.
Dutch case study
The Netherlands is on its way to becoming a ‘gas-free society’. Technically, this energy transition can be realized, however, the extent to which Dutch residents will accept new technologies in their homes is, albeit crucial, unclear. Every resident will have to deal with changes in their daily life as entire neighbourhoods will be renovated and individual houses re-fitted. Additionally, surroundings will change as solar fields, windmills and container sized neighbourhood batteries will pop up. In the 2nd Learning Cycle, the Dutch PEOPLE team of students, with academic mentors at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and company Alliander, researched the acceptance of three different technical innovations in three different residential areas, namely the ‘Smart Meter’, ‘Hydrogen in Apartments’ and ‘Pre-paid Energy’, with the aim of providing the industry partner with in-depth insight in the ‘lives and minds’ of different resident groups.
Czech case study
The objective of the second Czech case study was to decrease energy consumption for heating in administrative buildings by means of behavioural interventions. A field experimental design with measurement of actual temperature in the offices was employed in the 2nd Learning Cycle to measure the intervention’s effect on energy consumption. The Czech team of students and academic (Charles University Environment Center) and industry (VUPS) mentors employed a commitment to contribute to environmental goals in the intervention, possibly in combination with prompts, which is supposed to be both long-lasting and efficient in public domain. They further investigated the potential spill over effects both on other conservation behaviours (e.g. electricity on lighting) and consumption on heating in households. Students participated in all stages of the research including intervention design, wording and programming of pre- and post-test questionnaire, data management and analysis.