Delta Institute & IDEO to Collaborate on Innovative Smart Grid Effort

Delta Institute CEO Jean Pogge announced today that Delta Institute was awarded funding from the Chicago-based Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF) to partner with world-renowned design firm IDEO on an innovative smart grid pilot in Illinois. Delta and IDEO will apply principles of human-centered design to help consumers to better understand their energy consumption by using the smart grid in creative ways.

This one-year project will develop smart grid educational tools that are tailored to and tested within low-income and hard-to-reach consumer groups in Chicago and in rural Hillsboro, Illinois. “We are thrilled to be partnering with IDEO on this timely, innovative pilot,” said Pogge. “With smart meters being rolled out across the state, we believe this unique, consumer-driven approach could serve as an effective model that can be scaled up and replicated in similar communities across Illinois.”

The project team will conduct outreach within four target communities in Chicago and Hillsboro to inform smart grid product development, and it will culminate in a six-month pilot period to evaluate one or two products within a larger consumer audience. The smart grid educational tools developed will use social interaction to drive market participation in existing smart grid products, such as Residential-Real Time Pricing/Power Smart Pricing and Peak-Time Rebate, and it will empower consumers to better understand and manage their energy use.

This project supports Delta’s work to disrupt the energy status quo in the Great Lakes region, and it supports ISEIF’s mission to empower consumers to understand and adopt smart grid technologies and related programs; to create positive changes in consumer behavior related to patterns of energy use; and to transform cultural norms regarding the relationship between the consumer, the utility and energy consumption.

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