Evaluating feedback interventions: a design for sustainable behaviour case study

Design for Sustainable Behaviour is an emerging research area concerned with the application of design interventions to influence consumer behaviour during the use phase towards more sustainable action. However, current research is focussed on strategy definition and selection with little research into understanding the actual impact of the interventions debated. Here, the author’s present three themes as different entry points to the evaluation of a feedback intervention designed to change behaviour towards a sustainable goal: an evaluation of the behaviour changed by the intervention; an evaluation of the interventions functionality; and an evaluation of the interventions sustainable consequences. This paper explores these themes through a case study of a physical feedback intervention prototype designed with the intention of reducing domestic energy consumption through behaviour change whilst maintaining occupant comfort. In this paper, the authors suggest that questions for evaluating functionality and usability are dependent upon the intervention strategy employed; questions for the evaluation of behavioural antecedents and ethics are applicable to all intervention strategies; finally, questions for the evaluation of sustainable metrics are dependent upon the interventions context. More universal lines of questioning are then presented based on the findings of this study, suitable for cross-study comparison.