Energy Advisors at Work: UbiComp ’14 paper

We have a publication at UbiComp ’14 documenting my recent fieldwork with the Centre for Sustainable Energy. Download the PDF below.

Fischer, J.E., Costanza, E., Ramchurn, S.D., Colley, J. and Rodden, T. (2014).Energy Advisors at Work: Charity Work Practices to Support People in Fuel Poverty.To appear in: Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp ’14). ACM Press.


We present an ethnographic study of energy advisors working for a charity that provides support, particularly to people in fuel poverty. Our fieldwork comprises detailed observations that reveal the collaborative, interactional work of energy advisors and clients during home visits, supplemented with interviews and a participatory design workshop with advisors. We identify opportunities for Ubicomp technologies that focus on supporting the work of the advisor, including complementing the collaborative advice giving in home visits, providing help remotely, and producing evidence in support of accounts of practices and building conditions useful for interactions with landlords, authorities and other third parties. We highlight six specific design challenges that relate the domestic fuel poverty setting to the wider Ubicomp literature. Our work echoes a shift in attention from energy use and the individual consumer, specifically to matters of advice work practices and the domestic fuel poverty setting, and to the discourse around inclusive Ubicomp technologies.

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