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Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1729; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061729

Should We Play Games Where Energy Is Concerned? Perceptions of Serious Gaming as a Technology to Motivate Energy Behaviour Change among Social Housing Residents

1
Social and Organisational Psychology Department, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, 2300RB Leiden, The Netherlands
2
Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
3
School of Psychology, Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 April 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 23 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Innovations in the Energy Transition)
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Abstract

The invisibility and intangibility of energy are key challenges faced by communicators looking to reduce household energy demand. ‘Serious games’—defined as formalized, goal-oriented games designed to educate, or promote health and well-being—are one potential strategy that may help to alleviate these challenges. This paper discusses the suitability of serious gaming as an educational and behavioural change tool within the context of social housing—a faction often overlooked when it comes to household energy research. The paper takes a two-part approach. First, we review current literature on serious energy games, and second, we discuss perceptions of serious energy games amongst social housing residents using data from two surveys (Survey A, n = 536; Survey B, n = 78). Perceptions of serious energy games were found to be mixed. Some residents liked the idea of a game for energy, particularly if clear, actionable solutions for reducing energy bills were provided. However, others were disinterested, due to existing time pressures, negative perceptions of gaming, and limited confidence using computers or tablets. As such, uptake may be met with challenges. The findings highlight the need for interdisciplinary collaborations and user-led approaches for the design of successful and engaging serious energy games. View Full-Text
Keywords: serious gaming; household energy use; social housing; public perceptions serious gaming; household energy use; social housing; public perceptions
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Boomsma, C.; Hafner, R.; Pahl, S.; Jones, R.V.; Fuertes, A. Should We Play Games Where Energy Is Concerned? Perceptions of Serious Gaming as a Technology to Motivate Energy Behaviour Change among Social Housing Residents. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1729.

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