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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P033911/1
Title: 'Thinking Inside the Box': A Mixed Reality Development Platform for co-creating energy efficient retail spaces
Principal Investigator: Dainty, Professor ARJ
Other Investigators:
Chmutina, Dr K Cook, Professor MJ Schmidt, Dr R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AHR Global (UK) Child Graddon Lewis Fielden Clegg Bradley
Tesco
Department: Civil and Building Engineering
Organisation: Loughborough University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 September 2017 Ends: 30 June 2019 Value (£): 197,902
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Efficiency
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
16 Feb 2017 Energy Feasibility 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
In the UK retail outlets are the biggest emitters of CO2 within the commercial property sector. Many retail business are striving to reduce their carbon footprints, with many having ambitious targets for carbon neutrality over the next few years. This feasibility study aims to identify new ways to dramtically reduce end use energy demand within the retail sector. The novelty of the proposed work lies both in its scope and the technologies that it will develop. Rather than attributing energy use and human comfort directly to spatial design, building services, energy controls, company energy policy or human behaviour, this research will explore the intersection of all of these influences within a 'mixed reality' retail environment. This would take the form of an interactive 'gaming' model as a portable 'box' with a tangible user interface deployed in store. It would allow users to 'visualise' energy use and its consequences as part of a broader energy engagement strategy. The box would comprise a scale model of a physical store layout and a set of coded intervention cards that would allow participants to interact with the physical model on the table as well as in the virtual model - the blend between physical and virtual interactions establishes a mixed reality design platform (MRDP). Real time data from existing store sensors can feed directly into the virtual model to inform and respond to scenario testing as users interact with the model. Store staff and customers would be able to engage with the model proactively or passively via a mix of physical, virtual and display modules. This serious gaming environment will provide a stimulating and interactive way of sharing ideas and co-creating new solutions. Most importantly, the MRDP transforms what is normally an intangible numerical database (numbers collected by performance sensors) into an interactive and immersive experience to allow for continual testing and refinement with the opportunity of users co-creating novel approaches to reducing energy use while maintaining a positive shopping experience. The learning that accrues through this serious gaming activity would inform future strategies for reducing energy demand whilst simultaneously attending to other performance criteria (e.g. internal air quality, thermal comfort and the customer experience). The mobility and placement of the MRDP allows the retail floor or back of house area to become a platform for learning and drives a more open relationship with stakeholders. Our principal research partner is Tesco PLC, the UK's largest retailer with revenue of over £55 Billion. Tesco have an ambitious commitment to become a zero carbon business by 2050, and as part of this they aim to reduce carbon emissions in store by 50% over the next 4 years. This research would support their objectives by developing an exciting method of accelerating their progress towards their corporate goal and will help position the organisation at the vanguard of current technology and thinking in the energy demand reduction space.

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Organisation Website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk