Applying a People-Centred Development Approach to Energy Management in Buildings: PEOPLE Case-Study in Slovenia


How can we use ethnography and other qualitative research methods to study IT solutions for energy efficiency in buildings? How to combine thick data with big data stored and analysed by an energy information system? How to plan and carry out a people-centred development and design process? These questions will be some of those tackled by the students involved in the 1st PEOPLE project’s Learning Cycle in Slovenia.

Our team of students will work on MePIS Energy, Metronik’s energy information system (EIS) for energy management. MePIS Energy is customised and designed for managing – monitoring, analysing, planning – energy consumption in industry, infrastructure facilities, and buildings and is implemented at the University of Ljubljana as a part of its energy strategy. Energy Information System (EIS) is the software that monitors energy performance – as well as the hardware that acquires energy-related data in a chosen building. The analyses of the stored data are displayed and enable managers and owners of buildings to identify anomalies and causes of energy system inefficiencies. Performance is monitored through energy efficiency indicators – in our case, these are the available measurements of energy use and observable characteristics of the selected University of Ljubljana building, which can be associated with greater or lesser use of energy.

With guidance from both academic mentors (PEOPLE partner ZRC SAZU and University of Ljubljana) and industry mentors (industry partner Metronik), our interdisciplinary team of students from the fields of anthropology, psychology, fine arts and design, and computing and IT, will learn to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods and to apply people-centred development approaches:

  • to analyse how the information system is used in one of the buildings of the University of Ljubljana;
  • to analyse how MePIS Energy is influencing energy consumption and energy-related costs;
  • to provide guidelines and suggest modifications of the existing system (interface, displays etc.), develop upgrades or innovative ideas for utilising the existing system for a more efficient, lesser use of energy.

 

PEOPLE Learning Cycles bring together students, university educators, business professionals, and users of products and services to foster a balanced exchange of knowledge, skills, and experience. Applying different people-centred development approaches, local development teams of students, academic mentors, and business professionals will be cooperating in the development and testing of new industry solutions in the field of sustainable living and energy, tailored to the needs of communities – developed and designed with them, not only for them. Four partner countries, four challenging case studies! We will present our UK case study in a couple of days; meanwhile, see what our partners and students are up to in the Netherlands and Czech Republic.