With the information gained through Postcards and Arrows, as well as industry and academic research, participatory design sessions were carried out by the CarbonCulture design team. These were attended by a wide array of DECC staff, ranging from security staff through to Senior Civil Servants, who were given an introduction to behaviour change, briefed on the aims of the project and presented with the key findings that arose from the postcards and arrows.

As well as the long list of inputs from building users, we used energy consumption figures provided by the Sustainability and Estates team to examine which areas of focus had the potential to yield carbon savings, as well as to be practicable in encouraging user engagement. This information was then used to seed the workshop discussion with the different challenges and barriers that would come with approaching certain areas of focus.

Participants worked in groups to develop ideas for interventions that would tackle specific areas of consumption in 3-8 Whitehall Place. Working as a team decreased the tendency of declarative or blaming approaches, and developed collaborative efforts. The groups came up with a series of ideas that fed into the next design stage of prototyping and testing responses with the wider community.

Stage One Workshop produced four key ideas and concepts


Sometimes it is unclear what to bring with you to meetings and whether you need to dress formally, or if more comfortable clothing is acceptable. E-meet is an organisational tool to inform you about the type of meeting you are attending; e.g. a formal meeting, no need to print out documents, etc. The aim of E-meet is to reduce paper use in meetings and encourage staff to wear appropriate clothing in an office with variable temperatures, while maintaining the professional image of DECC.

The choice of clothing can affect energy use through people wearing suits and ties on hot and stuffy days, and then having to open windows to cool down, thus disrupting the building’s air conditioning. Equally, in the colder months, if staff know it is appropriate to wear a warm top over their shirt, they will not have to turn the heating up.

After Work Club (which became Scrunch)

Employees working late are given the option of moving to a designated space on one floor where they will find healthy food treats to boost productivity for the final part of their day. Other floors that are empty can then be switched off to save energy and cut carbon emissions. This can also be implemented at weekends and during holidays.

Monitor Pa-Troll

Many people leave their monitors on when they are away from their desk or at lunch. During the day, when monitors are left on standby mode for a significant period of time, Monitor Pa-Troll would alert others nearby to switch off the screen in question through visual and noise prompts. Monitor Pa-Troll could also involve a playful disincentive for people who leave their screens on, such as a troll being placed on their desk to make them aware that they left their screen on.


The thermal comfort (how warm or cold a person is) of the occupants of a building greatly affects how they interact with the heating and cooling controls (thermostats) and the building envelope (opening and closing windows and doors). Some people are too hot, others are too cold, and they could be working right next to each other. The participants in the workshop wanted CarbonCulture at DECC to look into further research around thermal comfort, to explore what can be done. Could all the people who find the building too hot sit together in one area of the building, and all the people who find it too cold sit in another? Rather than prototyping a tool that could address this issue, the conclusion from the workshop was that the CarbonCulture team could prototype some research tools to better understand the influences on thermal comfort.

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