1 Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (GERMANY)
2 German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies Hannover (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 1458-1467
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.0453
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
The demands for ecological sustainability continuously increase in almost all areas of daily life, in both, personal and professional fields. Our individual ecological footprint is concerned in various different contexts, challenging us to continuously explore this topic even outside of educational institutes under different aspects. Which instruments will ultimately lead to long-term solutions to counteract climate change is still unclear. What is certain, however, is that appropriate measures are needed for all sectors (households, commerce, industry, transport) and cross-cutting activities.

Building-related energy demand accounts for more than 1/3 of total final energy consumption and spans the residential, commercial and industrial sectors. This does not even consider the losses caused by the distribution of energy. A decentralized energy supply reduces these losses and relies additionally on renewable energies, finally resulting in increasingly fewer greenhouse gases emissions. The supply and saving concepts are as individual as the buildings themselves. There are no blanket solutions.

Autarkyo is an interactive application (App) made for owners of houses as well as for the conceptualization of energy self-sufficient future houses. It fosters the understanding of ecological concepts beyond educational institutions based on its illustrative design, wherefore it assists continuous lifelong learning. It is a simple calculation tool with which the energy consumption of customized houses can be analysed and compared with each other. The calculations are combined with graphical animations, which makes the use of the App easy and intuitive, i.e. independent of previous knowledge. The App was therefore developed in Unity and is available for Windows and Android.

In each project, the users can initially specify the type of the house (e.g., floor area, number of floors, roof, cellar), the type of the roof (pointed or flat roof), the number and size of windows, the orientation (south, east, west, north) of the house as well as the desired room temperature. If the house is regarded for modernization, the current energy consumption (electricity and gas) can be entered and compared to the energy consumption after modernization by simply changing, e.g., the thermal insulation of windows and walls. In addition to that, the user can virtually replace conventional heating systems by innovations such as solar thermal energy and photovoltaic. Autarkyo then automatically calculates the energy savings achieved by the virtual house renovation. It thereby takes the seasonal and location dependent sunshine hours into account, that are essential for the prediction of the heat and electricity generation by solar thermal energy and photovoltaic systems. As a result, Autarkyo presents an overview of the energy savings achieved by renovations, the decentralized produced amount of energy (heat and electricity) as well as the time of amortization of the new installations.

In brief, Autarkyo provides an understanding of the energy consumptions of existing or planned houses. Several features make the use of it practical and easy to understand: Complicated content becomes understandable for non-experts and thereby contributes to daily learning; the user learns to save energy by house renovations and how decarbonization is achieved by the transformation from fossil fuel-based centralized energy supply to decentralized, self-sufficient solar systems.
Knowledge sharing, sustainability, decarbonization, decentralized energy supply concepts, energy efficient houses, interactive app, unity.