Award winning
participatory
design project

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies.

Beside the European challenge that this project represent, the key goal was to create a working prototype that could verify key insights and design hypothesis. The prototype was to be distributed and tested at a neighbour level with 140 family living in Nice.

One of the key hypothesis of the project was that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for people to participate in energy reduction programs.

In the winter of 2015-2016, the participating families were sent a warning the night before there was going to be a peak demand for energy (such as the coldest evenings). Their energy consumption reduction was measured,then converted into points. The more energy people saved, the more points they were awarded. But the points weren’t for personal glory – instead, using a crowdfunding model, residents could choose to use their points to fund local non-profit projects, with the project that got the most support eventually gaining funding.

I took part of the project as part of Experientia team. My role was to iterrate on an inital UX work and to lead the UI part of the prototype. The goal was to translate learning and design hypotheses into a complete app experience that could be developed and display on tablet for our neighbour wide test.

I was not part of Experientia anymore during the testing phase, but the interface recommendation for the prototype, led to an encouraging success and allowed to mesure the impact of the design choice made: participants reacted positively and responded to the SMSs on a regular basis: during peak loads, EDF registered a decrease of electricity usage equal to 300Wh per household during the winter alerts, which is approximately 28% less than the estimated business-as-usual average in the same time interval.

In addition to that, the newly nominated Mayor of Nice, Philippe Pradal, awarded the three non-profit projects backed by CITYOPT participants. Each project received an amount of money corresponding to the number of points donated by the CITYOPT participants. While the small scale of the pilot means that the funds raised were not particularly large at this point, it does suggest that significant results could be achieved by extending the project to a broader community of participants.

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Awards

Etoile de l’observeur du design 2017
Mention honorable Compasso d’oro 2018