Designing domestic smart energy futures

British HCI 2022 Workshop | 11th July 2022

The UK has ambitious targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to Net Zero by 2050, with Scotland aiming to reach this by 2045. Achieving those targets whilst keeping the cost of energy affordable will require a significant increase in the amount of innovation in the energy sector to change how we generate, distribute and use energy. As we move into the future our increased use of clean, renewable energy sources will bring with it new challenges for balancing the variable energy supply to demand, which may impact how and when we use energy in our homes.  We will be relying more and more on electricity, requiring us to rethink how we travel and heat our homes, and putting new strains on our existing networks.

The changes to our whole energy system will necessarily have an impact on us in our homes. They will require us to make energy efficiency upgrades to our homes and change the ways we use energy. And they will also require the design and development of domestic technologies and services to enable the cleaner, more sustainable energy system to work. The new domestic technologies and services that will be put in place will affect us all: it is particularly important to make sure they’re designed for everyone, and that no one is disadvantaged through an inability to afford or access them.

About the workshop

In this workshop, we will challenge the HCI community to consider the ways that we can play a role in designing new domestic smart energy futures – keeping users at the centre of our thinking.

We invite contributions on and explore topics including:

  • Developing usable, desirable, accessible and sustainable smart energy products
  • Ensuring a fair transition for all through equitable and inclusive design (designing for vulnerable/disabled/older/digitally excluded/low-income consumers)
  • Usable security of future smart energy services
  • Making flexibility work
  • The role of domestic energy services in transitioning to a sustainable energy future
  • Creative methods for co-creating and informing smart energy design
  • Smart energy policies and implications for design
  • Designing for low energy consumption domestic futures
  • Considering the role of the HCI researcher in relation to the broader systemic changes require to reach net zero

Provisional Workshop Schedule

9:30-10amHybrid SessionsWelcome and Introductions
10am-11:15amShort presentations
  • Laura Hawkins (Honda R&D Europe): The changing mobility and energy landscape, and implications for future consumer needs
  • Sharon George (or colleague) (Keele University): Perceptions of hydrogen and energy storage as part of a future domestic energy system.
  • Ellen Diskin (ESB Networks): Domestic Demand Side Response and how to change the way consumers use electricity
  • Rowanne Fleck (Energy Systems Catapult): Trialling consumer flexibility
  • Adrian Friday (Lancaster University): Design for the home and how it influences domestic practices and energy demand
11:45am-1:00pmShort presentations cont
  • Laura Benton (UCL): Smart energy security
  • Clara Crivellaro (Newcastle University): A social justice oriented agenda in the design of smart energy products
  • Patrick Gould (Ofgem): Vulnerability and Inclusive innovation
  • Zero carbon Rugeley User-centric design team (Keele University): Creative methods for Smart Local Energy System Design: a case study from Zero Carbon Rugeley
  • David Kirk (Newcastle University): Slow technology and designing for low-power interactions OR community energy products and new models of community-managed energy consumption/use
1:45pm-3:15pmIn person sessionsCreative design and discussion challenges
3:15-4pmCreative design and discussion challenges cont.
4pm-5pmClosing discussion and next steps
Additional Evening Events
5:15-6:00pmIn person sessionsTour of SEND: Keele University’s Smart Energy Network Demonstrator
6.30pm-7.30pmBCS Event – Short Informal Talks about the Conference and Reflections from Workshops and DC organisers and chairs followed by Q&A
7.30pm-9:00pmBuffet/pizza, refreshments and delegate networking

The workshop will be run in a hybrid format, with participants able to join for the morning session only or the full day.

Participants can join the morning session either in person or remotely. These will be run as a series of short presentations with Q&A. (Please note more guidance will be provided around presentation timings once we have a final list of attendees).

The afternoon session will involve interactive design and participant-led discussions on workshop topics with the aim of shaping an influential agenda for the HCI community in this burgeoning area. Due to the hands-on nature of the design and discussion tasks, the afternoon session will be in person only.


Please register for the workshop via the conference registration process where you can select to attend the whole conference, or just the workshop, and to attend online or in person at Keele. ( – click on the ‘register to attend’ tab)

Please also email the workshop organisers ( to tell us who you are, how you’ll be attending (i.e. in-person/remote, morning/full day) and workshop themes you’d like to discuss in the afternoon session if you’ll be attending it.


We aim to publish a summary of the workshop outcomes via blogs or online articles by Ofgem and the ESC. We also propose to write an article for an industry and research focused magazine (e.g. ‘Interactions’ or ‘Housing Technology’) Further outputs will be discussed with workshop participants on the day e.g. a journal special issue, follow-up workshop/event etc.

Workshop Organisers

Rowanne Fleck is the Lead User Researcher at Energy Systems Catapult (ESC). She runs consumer insight research in the Living Lab – a community of connected households who have signed up to take part in trials of consumer energy products and services.

Dave Kirk is Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the School of Computing at Newcastle University, Co-Director of Open Lab and PI for the EPSRC Next Stage Digital Economy Centre for Digital Citizens.

Clara Crivellaro is Senior Research Fellow in Digital Democracy at Open Lab, Newcastle University’s School of Computing, and led ESPRC Network+ Not-Equal on Social Justice through the Digital Economy.

Laura Benton a Senior Research Associate at the UCL Knowledge Lab, and works on the ESPRC-funded CHAI project which is focused on exploring the security risks of domestic smart energy devices.

Patrick Gould is a policy manager in the vulnerability and consumer policy team at Ofgem, the energy regulator

Ian Stone is a policy manager in the Retail Policy Team at Ofgem, the energy regulator

Mina Vasalou is a Professor of Interaction Design at the UCL Knowledge Lab. She is a co-investigator on the ESPRC-funded CHAI project, has an interest in sustainability and is currently exploring how to embed environmental sustainability in education.