By 2018, every Illinois household will have a smart meter, a digital meter that securely sends real-time electricity use data to the utility company. The installation of these smart meters has often been accompanied by the promise of a wealth of data that customers can use to make changes to their electricity use and save money.
In reality, the translation of energy data into behavior change is more complicated, especially given the prevalence of misinformation and the often low priority of energy use in the busy day-to-day lives of consumers.
With funding from the Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation, Delta Institute teamed up with design firm IDEO to develop a product that more effectively translates those smart meter insights for senior and low-income consumers in Chicago.
Applying the principles of human-centered design, Delta and IDEO used learnings from a series of interviews and focus groups within senior and low-income communities to develop DeltaLumin. An online suite of consumer services, DeltaLumin aims to illuminate opportunities for consumers to reduce their energy use and save money.
This summer, Delta is working with the community-based organization Faith in Place to test the DeltaLumin prototype with over 70 Chicago consumers. Over the next few months, Delta will collect participant feedback through workshops and interviews, and use that feedback to continue refining DeltaLumin to be more intuitive, effective, and empowering for its users.
We, at Delta Institute, are excited to see how DeltaLumin evolves as an innovative tool to empower consumers to change their energy behavior to achieve both energy and cost savings. Stay tuned to Delta’s Update to see how DeltaLumin evolves.