Cooking behaviours: a user observation study to understand energy use and motivate savings

Electric cookers are one of the highest energy consuming domestic appliances, and there are several aspects that can influence the amount of energy used when preparing a meal. Appliance characteristics are shown to influence consumption, but human factors play an important role in the overall electricity usage. A user observation study was conducted among uni-versity students to understand how they use electric cookers. They were asked to perform a specific cooking task, and the elec-tricity usage was measured. Participants’ behaviours were analysed and compared with a set of energy saving techniques. Ap-pliance characteristics that influenced how students use energy were also investigated. The results show that users performed the task in several different ways, presenting diverse energy consumption, the average being 3 times above the necessary to complete the task. This information is now informing the design of interventions to motivate people to change their behaviours whilst cooking.