Saving energy can be as simple as replacing a light bulbs or by setting the thermostat level appropriately. However, most of us need a small nudge to take action and learn that our daily life and habits are essential for energy saving; EVIDENT SERIOUS GAME reinforces this premise.
The EVIDENT serious game is a life simulation environment where the player controls a digital character that simulates daily life routine considering the energy consumption made throughout the day. The players of the game will combine their daily life practices and energy habits with those customs that exist in the game world. They will be able to see and interact with the vital temperature regulation in the house and switch off the lights in a room. One of the main reasons we consume unnecessary energy in lighting is that we forget the lights open. Using the right equipment and making the right choices, we can save energy while providing maximum comfort in our daily lives.
Players can control and operate a wide range of devices in a household such as lights, air conditioner, thermostat, fridge and so on. They will have to fulfill a range of everyday tasks that correspond to real life customs, such as eating and cooking, using the fridge and operating the dishwasher. Also, the house is personalized for each user, based on their income, family status etc. In this sense, a player with a large family will control a spacier house with more rooms compared to someone who lives alone. Doing such actions, the user goal is to consume low amounts of energy which will lead to better scores at the end of the game. You should not feel anxious about that; the game will help you and give you advice in case you forget something, by popping up some messages as shown in the image below.
At some points in the game, players will be asked to make decisions to replace appliances when they break down and thus, they will come across with the concept of energy efficiency. In these scenarios, they will have to negotiate with the repairman, and they will be presented with a number of choices to repair or replace the corresponding appliance. In this way, players are challenged to choose the most energy-efficient choice. Players are encouraged to remember that replacing a device is not always the best option. At the end of the negotiation, an advice regarding their choices will show up, the same way it is illustrated in the following figure.
The features presented above are carefully chosen by analysing techniques that have been used within serious games to teach and motivate people to behave in an energy efficient way . The results of such approaches have been optimistic and it seems that the time is right to expand the ongoing serious game research. The attributes of serious games such as teamwork focus or behavioural interventions seem to have a positive effect on energy conservation and on establishing habits leading to energy efficient behaviour.
Behaviour change through the serious game
Serious games are fun but they have a more critical purpose than just pure entertainment. The entertainment value of a serious game is easy enough to examine by looking at the smile on someone’s face when they play the game. However, the following question arises: How could the degree of knowledge transfer or the effectiveness of behaviour change through serious games be evaluated? While the effectiveness of serious games for energy efficiency is well documented, the analysis of how these approaches use behavioural principles has yet to be considered. By exploring the behaviour change evaluation system, we can achieve a greater understanding of the mechanisms of change underlying serious games for energy efficiency. Existing research indicates that an average reduction in energy use of 15.2% was observed in residential environments. Behaviour change ratings were found in all serious games, with an average of 9.45 individual behaviour change rating systems per game. The results in  highlight the positive effects of serious games on energy consumption behaviour and demonstrate the utility of the behaviour change rating system in the context of such games. There are opportunities to further enhance the effectiveness of serious games through better utilisation of behavioural techniques and through using insights from behavioural analysis. Behaviour analysts are advised to consider serious games when developing interventions to support energy behaviour change .
The impact of occupant behaviour on energy consumption in buildings is becoming increasingly important as the overall energy demand of buildings decreases significantly due to very high energy efficiency requirements . The performance gap of near or zero-energy buildings is well known and has recently become a hot topic. A study was concerned with identifying the gap between the designed and actual building consumption, concluding that behavioural components play an essential role in this area. The recent leap in smart meter technology has opened up new perspectives in monitoring occupant behaviour in buildings. It can be used for many applications, such as modelling occupant behaviour, fine-tuning specific design values or load forecasting.
In general, EVIDENT contributes to the formation of green policy and energy transition by combining energy behaviour and nudging to promote energy-saving awareness; it would be helpful to follow the EVIDENT research and participate in it.
- B. Hedin, A. Lundström, M. Westlund, and E. Markström, “The energy piggy bank — A serious game for energy conservation,” in 2017 Sustainable Internet and ICT for Sustainability (SustainIT), Dec. 2017, pp. 1–6. doi: 10.23919/SustainIT.2017.8379794
- E. Delemere and P. Liston, “Exploring the Use of Behavioural Techniques in Serious Games for Energy Efficiency: a Systematic Review and Content Analysis,” Behav. Soc. Iss., Oct. 2022, doi: 10.1007/s42822-022-00103-4
- L. Shahmoradi, F. Mohammadian, and M. Rahmani Katigari, “A Systematic Review on Serious Games in Attention Rehabilitation and Their Effects,” Behavioural Neurology, vol. 2022, p. e2 017975, Feb. 2022, doi: 10.1155/2022/2017975