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MTRP Publications

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What's the ETA for heat pump adoption? Assessing barriers and opportunities with the Energy Technology Adoptability frameworkSarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Emily SearlConference Paper2024Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a keystone technology to electrify and decarbonise buildings. Despite an abundance of programs to promote their adoption, uptake lags behind targeted rates in many regions. Research has highlighted a range of factors that hinder heat pump adoption, but it tends to focus on known barriers such as high initial costs and lack of awareness among potential customers. This paper takes a systematic approach to exploring barriers to heat pump adoption, using the Energy Technology Adoptability (ETA) framework. Read Papermtrp
SLIDE DECK: What's the ETA for heat pump adoption? Assessing barriers and opportunities with the Energy Technology Adoptability frameworkSarah OutcaultConference Slides2024Air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) are a keystone technology to electrify and decarbonise buildings. Despite an abundance of programs to promote their adoption, uptake lags behind targeted rates in many regions. Research has highlighted a range of factors that hinder heat pump adoption, but it tends to focus on known barriers such as high initial costs and lack of awareness among potential customers. This paper takes a systematic approach to exploring barriers to heat pump adoption, using the Energy Technology Adoptability (ETA) framework. View Slidesmtrp
Database of residential heat pump promotion effortsSarah OutcaultDatabase2024Searchable database of utility, government, and community-led programs and activities to promote residential heat pump adoption by addressing the technology's trialability, observability, complexity of installation, and non-energy benefits.View Database (Excel file)mtrp
Innovative Approaches to Residential Heat Pump PromotionSarah Outcault, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Ellian Eorwyn, Cinthia Magana & Emily SearlProject Report2024California has identified heat pumps as a keystone technology on its path to decarbonization. To achieve the state’s goal of reaching six million heat pump installations by 2030, however, adoption rates must accelerate substantially. While various rebate programs have been introduced to alleviate the initial cost burden associated with heat pump installation, it is imperative to acknowledge and address critical non-cost barriers that may impede widespread adoption.Read Reportmtrp
Technology Characteristics that Influence Adoption of Residential Distributed Energy Resources: Adapting Rogers’ FrameworkSarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Leslie NelsonPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Policy2022Distributed energy resources (DERs) present an important opportunity to lower the carbon intensity of residential buildings but face numerous barriers to adoption. This paper extends and adapts Rogers' theory of the role of technology characteristics in the diffusion of innovation (Rogers, 1962) to address the unique features of residential DERs. Read Reportmtrp
Building lower-carbon affordable housing: case studies from CaliforniaSarah Outcault, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Angela Sanguinetti, Ashley N. DePew & Cinthia MagañaPeer-reviewed ArticleBuilding Research and Information2022This research explores developers’ experiences with lower-carbon multi-family affordable housing in California using three case studies that illustrate different pathways to decarbonization – improving efficiency, eliminating fossil fuel combustion for end-uses, and adopting a zero-net energy design.Read Report (paywall)mtrp
Occupant Non-Energy Impact Identification Framework: A human-centered approach to understanding residential energy retrofitsSarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Nermin Dessouky, Cinthia MagañaPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy and Buildings2022Residential energy retrofits have the potential to generate significant non-energy impacts (NEIs) on occupants, but the understanding of those NEIs has been hampered by the lack of a shared approach to studying them. A detailed literature review revealed several common tendencies that limit the generalizability of findings, including a focus on benefits, different categorization schemes, varied scope and specificity, the conflation of impacts across occupant groups, and conflation of retrofits’ functional outcomes with occupant impacts. This paper suggests a more systematic way of conceptualizing NEIs is needed and proposes a new framework that supports a comprehensive, unbiased, human-centered, and standardized approach. Read Report (paywall)mtrp
Understanding teachers' experiences of ventilation in California K- 12 classrooms and implications for supporting safe operation of schools in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemicAngela Sanguinetti, Sarah Outcault, Theresa Pistochini, Madison HoffackerPeer-reviewed ArticleWiley2022Classrooms are often under-ventilated, posing risks for airborne disease transmission as schools have reopened amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While technical solutions to ensure adequate air exchange are crucial, this research focuses on teachers’ per-ceptions and practices that may also have important implications for achieving a safe classroom environment.Read Reportmtrp
Decarbonizing Affordable Housing:
Case Studies on Developer Experiences with New Construction
Sarah Outcault, Ph.D., Eli Alston-Stepnitz, M.A., Angela Sanguinetti, Ph.D.,
Ashley DePew, and Cinthia Magana
Project Report2021This report explores stakeholders’ experience developing lower-carbon affordable multi-family housing. Three case communities in California were studied to yield insights about the decisions, challenges, and successes that emerged in the design, financing, operation, and maintenance of the buildings.Read Reportmtrp
Residential Electrification in Sacramento and Its Impact on Residential Appliance SalesSarah Outcault, Ashley DePew, Yemi Akoda, and Alan Meier Project Report2021The objective of this report is to investigate and quantify the market for appliances related to residential electrification and decarbonization, using the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) as a case study.Read Reportmtrp
Design Specifications for Indoor Environmental Quality FeedbackOutcault, Sarah; Sanguinetti, Angela; Alston-Stepnitz, EliPresentationNorwegian University of Science and Technology2021This presentation outlines best practices on IEQ information granularity, building upon the eco-feedback design-behavior framework.Presentation Slidesmtrp
Residential solar water heating: California adopters and their experiencesAngela Sanguinetti, Sarah Outcault, Eli Alston-Stepnitz, Mithra Moezzi, Aaron InglePeer-reviewed ArticleRenewable Energy2021 This research surveyed 227 single-family households with solar water heating across the state of California to understand their motivations and experiences, and draw implications regarding barriers to adoption. The survey explored households’ experiences across five stages of adoption, as outlined in Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory: Knowledge, Persuasion, Decision, Implementation, and Confirmation.Download (Paywall)mtrp
Towards Building Decarbonization: Lessons From Affordable Housing PioneersOutcault, Sarah; Sanguinetti, Angela; Alston-Stepnitz, EliPresentationBehavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference2020This presentation highlights preliminary findings about stakeholder experience developing, operating and maintaining various types of decarbonized affordable housing.Presentation Slidesmtrp
Towards a Better Understanding of Non-Energy Impacts Associated with Residential Energy Retrofit ProjectsDessouky, N., Outcault, S. & A. Sanguinetti. Conference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2020This paper explores the limitations of methods used by studies on non-energy impacts of energy retrofit projects, and outlines an approach that facilitates more robust comparisons.Read Papermtrp
Connected thermostats for low income households: Insights from user testingAlston-Stepnitz, E., Sanguinetti, A., Peffer, T., & Outcault, S.Conference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2020This paper describes key findings from user testing of a connected thermostat designed for low-income households.
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Improving Ventilation and Indoor Environmental Quality in California SchoolsTheresa Pistochini, Caton Mande, Mark Modera, Sarah Outcault, Angela SanguinettiProject Report2020This project developed and demonstrated approaches to synergistically improve ventilation and indoor environmental quality during replacements of packaged heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in California schools.Read Reportmtrp
The Landscape of Residential Solar Water Heating in CaliforniaMithra Moezzi, Aaron Ingle, Loren LutzenhiserProject Report2020Despite the long history of solar thermal water heating, the literature on its use is scattered, siloed, and uneven in coverage. This report outlines the “landscape” of solar water heating for single-family residences in California, covering technologies, the supply chain and marketplace, households as purchasers and users, and data sources.Downloadmtrp
Electrical Energy Storage and Energy Management System for the Sustainable City in DubaiPark, J.W., Rahman, M., Lacap, J., Wikler, K., Outcault, S., Sanguinetti, A., Nassar, H. & A. SafwatProject Report2019This paper examines the technical requirements for an electrical energy storage system for The Sustainable City of Dubai.Read Reportmtrp
Developer-Driven Sustainable Communities: Lessons from a Case Study of The Sustainable City in DubaiSanguinetti, Angela; Alan Meier; Nermin Dessouky; and Sarah OutcaultPeer-reviewed ArticleEuropean Council for an Energy Efficient Economy2019In Dubai, a private developer conceived, built, and now manages, a gated community called The Sustainable City (TSC), with more than 2,000 residents, shops, a school, and a hotel. TSC was purpose-built to consume almost no energy and be especially frugal with water, harnessing cutting-edge technologies and green building practices to promise residents both efficiency and luxury.
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How South Carolina's Electric Cooperatives Build Capacity Through Multi-Level GovernanceKeith Taylor, Sarah OutcaultProject Report2019Electric cooperatives serve over 40 million consumers in the United States, and have a history stretching back eight decades. Historically, the provision of high-quality electricity services at the lowest possible wholesale price to its distribution cooperative members might have proven sufficient to declare generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives a success. But electric cooperatives‚ business and governance models are facing new pressures as distributed energy technologies evolve and emerge; consumer-member preferences shift; and the economics of electric utilities changes regarding the cost structures of nuclear, coal, natural gas, and utility-scale renewables. Downloadmtrp
Solar Water Heating Assessment Project: Understanding and Improving Effectiveness for California HouseholdsMithra Moezzi, Aaron Ingle, Sarah Outcault, Angela Sanguinetti, Loren Lutzenhiser, Hal Wilhite, James D. Lutz, Alan Meier, and Jennifer KutzlebProject Report2019Solar thermal water heaters are an old technology used a century ago in California. They are now used extensively, in updated form, in many countries. According to government and industry estimates, well-functioning solar water heaters can theoretically displace 50 to 80 percent of the output of a natural gas-fueled household water heater, depending how hot water usage aligns with production and storage capacities.Downloadmtrp
Market Intelligence? Eliciting valuable information from non-expert stakeholders
Outcault, S.
PresentationBehavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference2019Lessons from a series of stakeholder surveys and interviews on priorities for distributed energy resources are presented.Presentation Slidesmtrp
Using social dynamics to explain uptake in energy saving measures: Lessons from space conditioning interventions in Japan and CaliforniaOutcault, S., Sanguinetti, A. & M. Pritoni. Peer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Research & Social Science2018This paper examines the intersection of the social attributes of cooling measures and the prevailing social dynamics within households. A game-theoretical model is developed to illustrate how the varied combinations of measure attributes and social dynamics can yield different cooling strategies across households.Read Articlemtrp
Aligning Occupant Behavior with ZNE Community Goals and Assumptions: Quantifying and Leveraging Behavioral PlasticityAngela Sanguinetti, Sarah Outcault, Alan MeierConference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2018In residential communities designed for energy efficiency, do the occupants take an
active role in conserving energy, or leave it up to the home itself? We examined cooling
practices in a new, low-energy development, located in one of the hottest climates in the world. The Sustainable City (TSC) in Dubai attracts individuals from across the globe, with varying cultures, values, attitudes, and habits. TSC staff promote a culture of sustainability, but there are challenges in achieving zero net energy (ZNE). Data on household energy consumption were collected from residents and household staff through in-person interviews and an online survey. We found evidence of a wide range of occupant values and cooling strategies. Many residents came from cooler regions in the world and were unfamiliar with cooling practices and technologies in their homes. We identified opportunities to leverage behavioral plasticity - i.e., residents' capacity to shift everyday practices - to save energy. This study suggests a framework for aligning occupant behavior with the goals and values embodied in sustainably-built communities. Specifically, designers and managers of sustainable communities need to educate, motivate, and support residents in order to encourage the specific energy-conserving practices required for sustainable buildings to achieve their technical potential.
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MANY SHADES OF GREEN: Establishing a Culture of Sustainability in a Diverse, Developer-Driven Expatriate CommunityDessouky, Nermin, Angela Sanguinetti, Alan Meier, Sarah Outcault, and Richard TutwilerPeer-reviewed ArticleCommunity2018We are a team of researchers from The University of California, Davis, and The American University of Cairo, investigating ways to promote a culture of sustainability in planned communities. We have been studying TSC for three years and observing how the community has been evolving over time. It is our assertion that although TSC is a large-scale developer-led community, it illustrates the ways in which the intention of a community is integral to sustainable lifestyles. We will discuss how some aspects of TSC's design and management promote, or present challenges to, the community's culture of sustainability.Read Articlemtrp
Occupant Thermal Feedback for Improved Efficiency in University BuildingsMarco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Angela Sanguinetti, Joshua Morejohn, Mark ModeraPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy and Buildings2017Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are responsible for more than half of the energy consumed in many buildings on university campuses in the US. Despite the significant amount of energy spent on HVAC operations, thermal comfort conditions in campus buildings are frequently poor. Faulty assumptions or a lack of data regarding occupant comfort can lead to energy waste from overheating or overcooling. Additionally, inadequate operational procedures and outdated technology make it difficult for occupant needs to inform temperature management. For example, campuses frequently use work order systems to manage temperature issues, but this process is slow and not widely used by students, i.e., the majority of building occupants.Read Article (paywall)mtrp
Upscaling Participatory Thermal Sensing: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Case Study at University of California for Improving Campus Efficiency and ComfortAngela Sanguinetti, Marco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Alan Meier, Joshua MorejohnPeer-reviewed ArticleEnergy Research &Social Science2017Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is responsible for most of the energy consumed in many university buildings, which are still often uncomfortable for occupants. Previous research suggests crowdsourcing thermal comfort feedback from occupants, called participatory thermal sensing (PTS), and incorporating it into the HVAC control system can improve energy efficiency and comfort simultaneously. Most PTS research has focused on automated closed-loop systems whereby occupant feedback is automatically integrated into HVAC operations, but such systems are difficult to scale. Downloadmtrp
Teacher knows best? Balancing energy savings, air quality, and comfort in California’s schools
Outcault, S.
Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference
2017Summarizes findings from a teacher survey on classroom air quality.
Presentation Slidesmtrp
Can you take the heat? A cross-national comparison of thermal comfort strategies and energy-saving field experiments Outcault, S. Pritoni, M., Heinemeier, K., and A. Mikami. Conference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016This paper presents the findings of a pair of randomized control trial to encourage the use of passive cooling techniques in Japan and the U.S.Download Papermtrp
Assessing Players, Products, and Perceptions of Home Energy ManagementRebecca Ford; Beth Karlin; Angela Sanguinetti; Anna Nersesyan; Marco PritoniProject Report2016The technologies that make up Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS), providing users with information, feedback and/or control of household energy usage, are developing in a rapidly growing market within the broader smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) space. As developments create more and more energy saving products with increasing functionality, new strategies must be developed for engaging with end-users (both before adoption and after) in order to fully leverage these technologies for the energy reduction and load shifting capabilities they offer. Downloadmtrp
How Do Small Businesses Experience Energy Reports?Laura Cornish, Beth Karlin, Angela Sanguinetti, Jason KaufmanConference paperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016How do small businesses experience energy reports that benchmark their
performance relative to similar businesses and provide recommendations to save energy?
There is a large body of research focused on energy feedback in the residential sector, but
significantly less in the commercial sector. Studies in both sectors have focused on the
effectiveness of feedback in terms of savings outcomes, while relatively little is known
about how customers experience the interface itself. This paper presents a synthesis of
results from a series of user research studies conducted with small- and medium-sized
enterprises (SMEs) in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
The Iterative Design of a University Energy DashboardAngela Sanguinetti, Marco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Joshua MorejohnConference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016Energy dashboards are monitoring and display systems that provide information about
building energy use. Dashboards may provide information, alarms, and complex trends to
support engineers in identifying energy inefficiencies in a building. Public interfaces may
contain simpler trends, with a greater focus on aesthetics and framing of content to
promote interest and engagement.
TherMOOstat: Occupant Feedback to Improve Comfort and Efficiency on a University CampusAngela Sanguinetti, Marco Pritoni, Kiernan Salmon, Joshua MorejohnConference PaperACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings2016Despite the significant amount of energy spent on Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
(HVAC) at universities, thermal comfort conditions in campus buildings are frequently poor.
Conventional HVAC management systems at universities are typically out of the hands of
building occupants and facilities management departments have limited resources to involve
them. These factors can lead to over-heating or over-cooling and undiagnosed mechanical issues.
Characterization and Potential of Home Energy Management (HEM) TechnologyBeth Karlin; Rebecca Ford; Angela Sanguinetti; Cassandra Squiers; John Gannon; Mukund Rajukumar; Kat A. DonnellyProject Report2015The Home Energy Management (HEM) market is rapidly expanding alongside substantial investments to improve energy efficiency and upgrade electricity infrastructure to a smart grid.
These changes enable consumers to take greater control of their energy use, which can be enabled through the use of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS).
Diffusion of Feedback: Perceptions and Adoption of Devices in the Residential MarketBeth Karlin, Angela Sanguinetti, Nora Davis, Kristen Bendanna, Kristen Holdsworth, Jessie Baker, David Kirkby, Daniel StokolsPeer-reviewed ArticleLecture Notes in Computer Science2015Providing households with energy feedback is widely promoted as a conservation strategy and its effectiveness has been established in field studies. However, such studies actively recruit participants and little is known about naturalistic consumers. Despite hundreds of products emerging, few have taken hold in the market. Diffusion of innovation is a theory of technology adoption that details both the general process by which innovation spreads as well as the individual process of technology adoption.Read Article (paywall)mtrp
What about Everyone Else? Thinking Beyond the Customer: Market Barriers to Adoption of Efficient HVAC Technologies
Outcault, S.
Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference
2015Identifies market barriers impeding the adoption of emerging HVAC technologies in California, using a behavior economics model of behavior change.
Presentation Slidesmtrp
Market Barriers to Widespread Diffusion of Climate-Appropriate HVAC Retrofit Technologies
Outcault, S. Kutzleb, J., Wooley, J. and K. Heinemeier.
Project Report2015Examines the market barriers impeding the adoption of emerging HVAC technologies in California, using a behavior economics model of behavior change.
Read Reportmtrp
Assessment of the hybrid solar technologies for air conditioning in the Sustainable City of DubaiRahman, M.; Ghaddar, N.; Ghali, K.; Outcault, S.; P. StroeveProject Report2015This paper examines the technical requirements for a renewables-powered air conditioning system for a building in The Sustainable City of Dubai.Read Reportmtrp
Can AC Use be Reduced? Field Experiments to Encourage Adoption of Alternative Cooling Strategies in Japan and the U.S.
Outcault, S. Heinemeier, K., Pritoni, M., Kutzleb, J. and Q. Wang.Project Report2015This paper reports on a pair of randomized control trial to encourage the use of passive cooling techniques in Japan and the U.S.Read Reportmtrp