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Reference Number EP/V042130/1
Title Environmental impacts of digital services for health and wellbeing in the home
Status Started
Energy Categories ENERGY EFFICIENCY(Residential and commercial) 20%;
OTHER CROSS-CUTTING TECHNOLOGIES or RESEARCH(Environmental, social and economic impacts) 40%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Town and Country Planning) 5%;
SOCIAL SCIENCES (Psychology) 45%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Computer Science and Informatics) 45%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Environmental dimensions) 100%
Principal Investigator Dr R P Hiteva

University of Sussex Business School
University of Sussex
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 September 2021
End Date 31 December 2023
Duration 28 months
Total Grant Value £889,060
Industrial Sectors Healthcare
Region South East
Programme Digital Economy : Digital Economy
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr R P Hiteva , University of Sussex Business School, University of Sussex (99.994%)
  Other Investigator Professor PRN (Peter ) Childs , Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London (0.001%)
Dr TJ Foxon , School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds (0.001%)
Dr A Gallego Schmid , Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr AP (Adrian ) Smith , Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex (0.001%)
Dr ML Smallman , Science and Technology Studies, University College London (0.001%)
Dr S Royston , Faculty of Science and Engineering, Anglia Ruskin University (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Appello (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract In order to understand the environmental impact of digital technologies (e.g. video intercom systems) and services (e.g. telecare), offered widely in special social housing for elderly people (e.g. independent living schemes), this project studies i) the built environment (e.g. the materials and systems used in such homes); ii) how users/elderly people interact with these digital technologies; and iii) the roles and experiences of professional eHealth intermediaries in providing health services in the home. We quantify the environmental impacts of these technologies and services in the home, from cradle to grave/throughout their lifecycle, in terms of their carbon and water footprints, the extent to which they lead to depletion of resources, etc). On the basis of these and working with users, carers, technology providers and property managers, we identify alternative ways of improving these environmental impacts through changes in the technologies, built environment and practices of use and provision.Providing different angles of understanding the social and technological processes involved in shaping these technologies and services in the home, in a complementary way is a fundamental aspect of the project. Therefore, we use a mixture of methods, such as narrative-based interviews and case studies, and data, such as number of video calls out to health professionals; energy usage by digital systems and how efficiently are technologies used to evaluate the environmental impact of these technologies and services as they take place in social housing for the elderly. To better understand these different social and technological aspects and how they interact with each other, we work with users, health professionals and a broader group of organisations and individuals which are directly and indirectly part of the ways in which these digital technologies and services take place, in a way which enables these groups to talk about things that matter to them rather than follow our pre-determined agenda. We adjust what we are doing throughout the project according to this input.Throughout the project we will actively and directly take action to reduce the environmental impact of the research project itself in all its parts, not only implementing small and mundane changes (such as using less or no paper in the process of research) to coming up with new ways to collect data, plan events and engage with key audiences for the research. For example, we will extend the lifespan of research products by reusing equipment (IT, digital recorders, etc.) and share equipment between the different teams. To do this we will develop a Sustainable Research plan, using existing best practices, and through continuous consultation with the key people and organisations we will be working with. The plan will evolve with our engagement with different partners and with the needs of the project. We will continuously monitor our performance and report on environmental sustainability to ensure that we are indeed enhancing or directly benefiting the environment through the project.Working with several key partners: Orbit (a housing association), Appello (a digital system developer), NHS Digital (health service provider) and UCL's Tomorrow's Home 2050 project: Visions of Home-based Healthcare (an immersive interactive space where the home of the future in 30 years' time is brought alive), allows us to trace and observe some of the digital technologies during their development, use in the home and as embedded within a broader digital health environment. This offers the project a connected and comprehensive view. Most importantly, we will work together to identify new practical ways of taking direct action and doing so, to enhance the environment through the use of digital technologies and services in the home.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 28/10/21