Our models

We use computers to model human behaviour to understand why, how, when and where people adopt new technologies like solar panels or electric cars under a range of different scenarios. Here, we show stylised versions of three of these models.

Overview of models

We have applied our models in a range of contexts, in particular, the adoption of energy efficiency in buildings, commuters’ choice of transport mode, and householders’ adoption of water-efficient appliances and behaviours.
These have been developed as part of projects for the Low Carbon Living CRC, specifically:
  • RP3028: A Virtual Market for Analysing the Uptake of Energy Efficiency Measures in Residential and Commercial Sectors.
  • RP3035: Modelling the uptake of water conservation and efficiency measures in Sydney.
  • RP2021: Greening suburban travel.
  • RP3002: A Framework for Low Carbon Living Community Policy & Program Development.
Our human behaviour models would normally be developed to help policy makers and network planners in energy, transport and water who want to reduce uncertainty when evaluating outcomes of decisions and to understand possible scenarios’ impact on investment decisions or policy actions.
To write our models, we currently use NetLogo which is a multi-agent programmable modelling environment. It is used by many tens of thousands of students, teachers and researchers worldwide. More information about the NetLogo platform can be found here, https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/
To create the stylised models illustrated here, we translated models into the NetLogo Web. Note that the models were inserted as it was exported from the desktop application. Improvements to the user interface will be explored in a future phase of this project.

Low carbon commutes model

The team explored the potential for increased use of low carbon transport modes in a suburban context. The outputs highlighted the interdependencies between modes, and the factors that are likely to encourage greater use of active transport and public transit.

Water conservation model

The team used data from a water conservation program, WaterFix, combined with survey data and integrated into a model which described the householders’ choice to opt into the program.

Energy efficiency model

Description of how we work with collaborators.