Projects

Project picture

How Green Are You?

Location
North West

Project Summary

An exhibit was developed for the Manchester Science Festival to showcase our research work into domestic energy monitoring and usage analysis. 

Project Partners

Name:
Professor Nigel Linge
Role:
Salford University
Role Description:
Mentor
Name:
Qi Liu
Role:
PhD researcher, University of Manchester
Role Description:
Early Career Researcher

Quotes

"Banners and posters play a very important role in the event. Excellent banners provide an overview of what is being demonstrated and sometimes this is all they want.  Equally, if the demonstrator is not available at that time, a visitor can still learn about the exhibit." Qi Liu, Early Career Researcher

Lessons Learnt

  • The public are much more interested in the exhibit than we expected. Furthermore, they were keen to find out how it works.
  • Banners and posters play a very important role in the event. Excellent banners provide an overview of what is being demonstrated and sometimes this is all they want.  Equally, if the demonstrator is not available at that time, a visitor can still learn about the exhibit.
  • Questionnaires should be prepared at the exit of the exhibition to leave space and time for visitors to think and prepare. People do not like to give an instant comment on what they have just seen.

Top Tips

  • The importance of using plain English to explain the demonstration.
  • Instead of explaining everything to every visitor, encourage them to try and understand the demonstration themselves.

Background

This Manchester Beacon funded project presents current research being undertaken at the University of Salford and its significance on the general public. 

We are exploring how to use modern communications technology to monitor the use of electricity and gas in your home and then presenting the information back in such a way as to persuade people to reduce consumption and hence, reduce their carbon footprint.  This project will therefore develop an exhibit to provide the public with an opportunity to engage with our research by providing feedback on the design of the system we have produced, will allow them to see how University research is relevant to modern day living.

Aims & Objectives

  • To create an exhibit showcasing our project called Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) for a telecommunications exhibition that is being planned at MOSI as part of Manchester Science Festival.  
  • To use the exhibit to interface with the public to form an input to our research work.  
  • To help change the public's perceptions of universities and research activities by making the researcher more accessible and to show a real-world application that people can easily relate to. 
  • To develop public engagement skills.
  • To develop materials that can become available for use at other public engagement events.

Approach

An exhibit was designed and built for use within a telecommunications exhibition that was delivered at MOSI for the weekend of the 23/24 October as part of Manchester Science Festival. 

The exhibit showcased our project called Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) and included pull-up banners and posters that explained why the research is important and how our system works. It also showcased actual technology with live feedback of data and demonstrated new interfaces that capture complex data in a very simple and visual manner. The public reaction to these new interfaces in itself formed an input to our research work.  The exhibit was organised by Qi Liu throughout the weekend and he was able to explain in more depth how the DEHEMS technology has been developed, how it works and how it could be incorporated within homes.  Two videos were also produced of Qi Liu demonstrating his exhibit and these are in the final stages of editing before being uploaded to the University's YouTube channel.

This project will help change the public's perceptions of universities and research activities by making the researcher more accessible and to show a real-world application that people can easily relate to.  The materials developed will then become available for use at other public engagement events.