Constructing performance requirements for Home Energy Management Systems compliant with household values

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Abstract

Currently our energy supply system is experiencing a transition towards more sustainable energy generation with an increased amount of renewable energy. However, the high fluctuations in renewable energy generation make balancing demand and supply more complex. One solution to cope with high production fluctuations is to improve the energy system on the demand side (Siano, 2014). The introduction of Home Energy Management Systems (HEMSs) to the electricity infrastructure should contribute to the demand side management of our energy system. HEMSs have the potential to intelligently integrate the behaviour and actions of all connected users, improving demand forecasting and scheduling of electricity generation (Galli & Scaglione, 2011). However, currently there is a large uncertainty about the extent to which households in the Netherlands are willing to purchase HEMSs due to ethical dilemmas. When intelligent and connected systems are designed, it is important to adequately safeguard ethical values that are affected by the application of the technology in design engineering (de Greef, Mohabir, van der Poel, & Neerincx, 2013). The introduction of the smart meter among others revealed that failing to take conflicts with human ethical values into account in the development of technology leads to technological artefacts violating ethical values and consequently the predicted benefits may not be realised.The purpose of this work is to construct performance requirements for HEMSs compliant with household values. The construction of performance requirements is done by translating values into performance requirements using a value-oriented approach. We have reviewed literature concerning value-oriented approaches, finding multiple studies attempting to translate values into design requirements (Bresciani et al., 2004; Friedman, Kahn Jr., & Borning, 2008; van de Poel, 2013). However, none of these works provided explicit and concrete steps for the translation of values into design requirements. Hence, we constructed our approach based on the values hierarchy by van de Poel (2013), enriching the values hierarchy with explicit and transparent steps specifying the information gathering process. Our value-oriented approach to translate values into performance requirements is our theoretical contribution. The input for the translation of values into performance requirements are the values privacy, autonomy, reliability, usability and economic development, which were identified by Ligtvoet (2015) as to most critical values for the development of HEMSs. In the translation of these values to performance requirements we pay explicit attention to concerns and norms existing around HEMSs. Besides, we present two formats that have proven to be helpful in constructing the norms and performance requirements in a consistent and repeatable way. The outcome of our value-oriented approach is a list of performance requirements, which is used to evaluate the hardware requirements of two HEMSs: the Toon and Smile P1. In order to assess whether the technical properties of these systems satisfy the established performance requirements, we technically investigated both these HEMSs in terms of data and control flow. Based on this assessment we concluded that for every value there were performance requirements not compliant with the two HEMS designs. Therefore, we can conclude that these five values are indeed critical and that HEMSs require improvements on both a technical level and institutional level to avoid moral issues with values.