Energy Saving Devices

I’ve conducted research on issues of energy efficiency and improved usability and design of climate control devices. Research had found that Energy Star certified climate control devices were not meeting expected energy savings due to usability challenges in programmable settings. In response to this challenge, as a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, I worked on several quantitative studies on the usage of programmable thermostats and climate control devices, as well as studies that collected crowd sourced data on energy usage behavior.

The time for users to program heat settings differed for each of the five devices tested (WEB, TCH, BTN, SMT, & HYB).
The time and completion rate for users to program heat settings differed for each of the five devices tested (WEB, TCH, BTN, SMT, & HYB), illustrating design challenges.

We devised a series of usability metrics that inform the EPA’s Energy Star Residential Climate Control Usability Test Method for thermostat manufacturers. These metrics serve to improve the understandability and usability of climate control device features and settings.

Research Publications: 

Energy efficiency and the misuse of programmable thermostats: The effectiveness of crowdsourcing for understanding household behavior.  Pritoni, M., Meier, A.K., Aragon, C., Perry, D. and Peffer, T. Energy Research & Social Science 8, doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2015.06.002. (2015): 190-197.

Facilitating energy savings with programmable thermostats: evaluation and guidelines for the thermostat user interface. Peffer, T., Perry, D., Pritoni, M., Aragon, C., & Meier, A. Ergonomics, 1-17 (2012). PDF.

Making energy savings easier: Usability metrics for thermostats. Perry, D., Aragon, C., Meier, A., Peffer, T. & Pritoni, M. Journal of Usability Studies, 6 (4), 226-244 (2011). PDF.

How people use thermostats: A review. Peffer, T., Pritoni, M., Meier, A.K., Aragon, C. & Perry, D. Building and Environment, 46 (12), 2529-2541 (2011). PDF.

The DABE Concept Thermostat

I collaborated with Becky Hurwitz while at UC Berkeley to create the DABE concept thermostat. The thermostat interface is designed to allow users to more easily set their schedule and respond to energy saving behavior.  I designed a Flash application to show the interface settings.




View Other Projects I’ve Worked On >