Sandpit projects


Stuck in the SandpitFour funded research projects on user-centred innovations to help reduce energy consumption.

The four collaborative projects received a total of £1.28 million investment from the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to look at how the demand for energy in non-domestic buildings could be reduced through encouraging changes in people's behaviour, and by designing energy-related technology and services that are more user-friendly.

The funding was allocated using the ‘sandpit' process. The competitive element was to attend the five day creative workshop known as a ‘sandpit'. Once there, attendees were encouraged to work collaboratively in exploring challenges and uncovering novel solutions.


EMPOWER: Empowering empathic energy efficiency design: Led by More Associates, EMPOWER aims to develop an innovative user-driven energy efficient product/service system, integrating creative, empathic user-centred design techniques with novel product design innovation. This project will deliver a physical product interface onto the CarbonCulture platform that is already in use by several government departments. The partners in this project are Warwick University and Brunel University. Luke Nicholson,, 07968 215112


Energy Pet:Led by Novalia Ltd, Energy Pet will combine novel interactive printed and online tools to give feedback to users on real-time electricity use in a simple and engaging manner, using clear, simple and 2 beautiful designs and/or characters designed to be suitable for office and schools. Energy Saving Day (E-Day) Ltd and Halcrow Group Ltd are partners in this project. Kate Stone,, 01223 437133


The Building Banter Project:Led by Moixa Energy Holdings Ltd, the Building Banter Project will improve energy efficiency by involving building users in engaging and ongoing conversations with the building, prompting energy efficiency actions/behaviour change. For further information please see: The partners in this project are Federal Mogul, Arup, Vitamins, More Associates, University College London, Dundee University, Leeds University and Southampton University. Chris Stone,, 0207 734 1511


YouCaretaker: Led by Slider Studio Ltd in collaboration with Arup, YouCaretaker will establish an online platform joining building occupiers with professional facilities management teams in the responsible and energy efficient running of buildings, focusing initially on office buildings. Michael Kohn,, 020 8223 7295