Cheroline Ripunda

MEng Student

Investigating water and energy consumer behaviour using ICT as part of Internet of Things

The hypothesis for this research is that when given meaningful information, consumers will be mindful of their water and energy usage and will be encouraged to adopt water and energy conservation lifestyles.  Current water and electrical bills are not a complete representation of consumer’s usage; one cannot pinpoint activities that are wasteful.  This makes it difficult for consumers to be mindful of their usage.

The first goal of the study is to look at the complexities of human information processing.  This will include a social-psychological view of water and energy conservation behavior. The different aspects of behavioral change will be studied with a focus on the barriers of such change. Ways of including social and behavioral sciences in current conservation programs is one of the end goals of this research study.

The second goal is to obtain the usage data from consumers. Smart water meters and geyser controllers will be used to collect the data. A randomised control trial (RCT) will be conducted on the residential houses and building and offices of the University of Stellenbosch.  The intervention of the RCT will be water usage information. The difference in difference method will be applied to the obtained data to determine the exact effect of the intervention. These behavioral changes will be observed only through the consumer’ usage data.