Observations from the domestic waste management perspective showed us where many of the houses in the research would temporarily place their once domestic filled up waste/recycling/compost bags out the back awaiting the weekly/bi-weekly waste collection. When these bags were walked through the houses (you will not walk around the house when you are in the middle of a long terraced street - you may have no choice other than to walk through the house due to street design a century ago) would result in hard flooring and carpets getting soaked and stained over the long term.
Simple solutions such as building protective 'bag bays' (some street do not introduce wheelie bins as it is impractical to store them out front due to vandalism, drunks kicking them over each week) allowed people to safely store their waste out the front (no longer would bags just be strewn out front and being attacked by rats, pigeons, seagulls and other vermin) and no longer needed to be walked through the house.
The communal element of shared kitchens, dining rooms, loungers and bathrooms is always an illuminating experience developing further questions on how to improve upon existing designs, social skills, cleaning and maintenance responsibilities. Observing and interviewing 250 professional tenants will show consistency in the vast themes and issues being raised.
Should smart houses take responsibility by opening the windows automatically or put the extraction fans on instead of people doing it? Would having sensors for humidity all around the buildings just end up using more energy? Is too much technology in a home healthy? Many professional tenants often complained of static and dust build ups which occurred in a very short amount of time making cleaning more frequently required than what some considered necessary.
Should home central smart computers arbitrarily adjust the hardware/appliances in use? Will this make us lazy and complacent of our resource saving responsibilities? Should the smart houses inform the home users of what appliances are over-burdened and wasting energy? Yet will people pay attention to the warnings or just see it as superfluous information?
The public probably have come up with good innovative measures, yet it is not yet widespread. We strongly encourage you to discuss your house, office, factory, schools, university energy/water/heat/waste management practises and systems with your neighbours. Pooling our ideas could financially save us a lot of money as well as save our precious resources.
What can you do?