Tough Shift: Exploring the Complexities of Shifting Residential Electricity Use Through a Casual Mobile Game
conference contributionposted on 31.01.2018, 14:26 by Robert S. Brewer, Nervo Verdezoto, Thomas Holst, Mia Kruse Rasmussen
Modern electrical grids are increasingly reliant on generation from renewable sources that can vary from hour to hour. This variability has led to the desire to shift the times of the day when electricity is consumed to better match generation. One way to achieve these shifts is by encouraging people to change their behavior at home. Leveraging prior research on encouraging reductions in residential energy use through game play, we introduce ShareBuddy: a casual mobile game intended to encourage players not only to reduce, but also to shift their electricity use. We conducted two field studies in a student dormitory and found that players did not shift their electricity use, because they were unwilling to change their schedules and found it easier to focus on reducing electricity use. Based on our findings, we discuss the implications for encouraging shifting, and also the challenges of integrating real-world resource use into a game.