IBC2022: This Technical Paper explores sustainable ways consumers can implement in their smart homes.


The modern lifestyle has a huge impact on the planet and contributes to climate change. Even though industry has a major responsibility to reduce environmental impacts, the contribution of individual households should not be neglected in order to achieve climate goals. In this paper, we investigate design ideas for enabling sustainable behaviour in the smart home to make users aware of their energy consumption and to support them in spending energy more responsibly.

We conducted a co-design session and expert interviews to identify key design elements that constitutes towards a more sustainable behaviour in the smart home. Based on the insights gained, we demonstrate a pro-active smart home assistant that makes suggestions and pro-actively changes settings, to support a greener lifestyle. Interventions refer to suggesting to turn on or off specific appliances depending upon users’ behaviour and home situations to reduce energy consumption.We contribute design aspects for supporting behaviour change towards a more sustainable living and lifestyle and demonstrate how these aspects can be integrated in the smart home.


Climate change is threatening our world and our society. The impact of human activities on the planet and their effects cannot be countered without changing our lifestyles. While the industry has a big responsibility in this, the contribution of individual households also needs to be considered to reach climate goals. Private households’ energy consumption (e.g., electricity, gas), water consumption, need for transport, food efficiency, waste generation, and consumption, in general, can all be optimised by adjusting individuals’ lifestyles.

Public policies have shown to be efficient to a certain degree when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, but they do not affect mundane, in-house behaviour, that would lead to consumers’ change of habits[12].Not everybody is aware that their lifestyle has an impact on their environment: individuals follow their own personal life-defining values[15], dictating their attitudes towards sustainability among other aspects of life[2]. Even among sustainability-aware consumers, not all of them are aware that some of their behaviours can be refined to reduce their impact.Technology can be designed in a way that we can improve behaviours and consumption at home. This applies to all sorts of behaviours related to typically energy consuming activities, be it cooking or enjoying leisure, but also maintaining the standard of living like heating the place, setting lighting, or cleaning. In this research, we will focus on essential activities (e.g., food, heating) in combination with multimedia consumption, to investigate how to support inhabitants to adopt more sustainable behaviours in these situations using a pro-active smart home technology concept.

For this, we will first present the current state of the art on sustainability and behavioural change. Then we will present the study conducted to gather ideas and data on what aspects of daily life would lead to a behaviour change. We then reviewed these ideas with a team of usability, user experience, and human factors experts to identify the criteria for creating acceptable behaviour-changing technology that must be included in a pro-active smart home technology concept. Finally, we relied on these results to design a system tocreate sustainable behaviour in connected homes. Based on a smartphone, connected to the household’s devices and services, and a smart home control with a display, we show how to inform the inhabitants of a home and how they can adopt energy-saving measures.

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