21-25 May 2022
DISTRIBUTECH 2022
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Group targets retired American coal plants for clean energy hubs

One of the most prominent themes is heat’s versatile application to provide care and compassion through adjusting a thermostat. Residents used heating to anticipate children’s discomfort, soothe arthritic joints, and relieve symptoms of illnesses or their treatments. This application of care is often extended to non-human household members, with residents recording how they would leave heating on for pets, and even houseplants, when leaving their homes otherwise empty.

Once the wellbeing and comfort of the inhabitants had been assured, residents often applied heat to the needs of the building that house them. Several households explained how their use of smart heat intended to prevent structural damp and protect pipework from the possibility of freezing.Social signalling can also be an element behind heating decisions, projecting comfort and hospitality. What host could pass up the opportunity to bask in the approval of their well-toasted guests, as well as the warmth of their hardworking boiler?

How can the functional uses of heating, as used by the Living Lab’s residents, be placed within the energy phenomenology of smart heat? The paper puts forward four influences behind the motivations for heating decisions.Heat controls provide an outlet for the roles an individual assumes. Heating practices help to communicate that sense of being a nurturing parent or caregiver, or conscientious homeowner. They can even replicate rituals from childhood, with one resident keen to provide their son with heated pyjamas despite his equally heated opposition.

The diary entries reveal how many needs can be met through the calibration of a virtual thermostat. The paper’s most memorable example comes in the unexpected form of a cat’s birthday party, where the host’s pet-loving instincts combine with social signalling and expressions of care for elderly houseguests.
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