Applying behaviour change methods to reduce home energy consumption has resulted in varying outcomes and also conservation effects that were short-lived. Some of the more promising treatments included In Home Energy Displays (IHDs) and home energy bills with comparisons to unknown others - for individual homes. In contrast, so-called collective “energy communities” reduce individual energy consumption and report other benefits such as group cohesion and community building. A question arises as to whether conservation norms would emerge in ad-hoc urban groups if they were able to co-own and operate a Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) asset. Secondly, can an economical DRE size for a small group be arrived at via demand aggregation and conservation together?
The aim of this paper is to propose a methodology that will test this hypothesis. The approach is to deploy an IHD to display home energy consumption against the fictitious electricity available from a shared solar and battery system, as if it were installed. The IHD will also prompt group members among 6 neighbours to sanction or reward specific (but not identified) group members based on how they use the “shared energy”. A multiple baseline approach will be used and correlation of time series (energy consumption against user actions on the IHD) will be performed in R. The authors expect to observe a sustainable reduction in overall energy due to the effect of an IHD on occupant behaviour. The outcome of the study will help the community to scale the solar and battery storage combination that works best for them based on their usage and their willingness to invest and participate. The proposed system could provide an optimum net zero energy district tailored for the community based on the local parameters and their behaviour.