Research Proposal

Student ID No 15903967
Name Charlotte Pryce-Jones
Does this project require ethics approval? Yes

Awareness, understanding and encouragement of Renewable Energy implementation
This research aims to encourage my local community to invest in and install Renewable Energy Technologies on new residential and commercial builds and in community spaces within the Millwater Estate, while creating an understanding and awareness of the importance of there implemented.
Rationale and Significance of the Study
While the number of houses in the Millwater Estate in Silverdale has dramatically increased over the past five years building regulations have improved for energy saving purposes through power saving technologies such as double glazing, heat pumps and installation standards. Yet according to current research innovative technologies are not being implemented to their potential in order to further the creation of buildings that strategically achieve both aspects of creating and saving energy to effectively sustain themselves. With the Millwater estate set to hold over 10,000 people (Reddell, 2009) by 2020 the amount of power used by over 3,000 properties will be increasing, therefore implementing sustainable technologies and Renewable Energies on such a large scale would be an effective solution in the long run.
Literature/Past Research Review
Under the Kyoto Protocol New Zealand has committed to reduce their greenhouse emissions to that of the average in 1990 ("New Zealand and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change | Ministry for the Environment", 2017). As part of the group of countries pushing to reduce greenhouse gases and aim for more sustainable energy options the use and growth of Renewable Energies (RE) within New Zealand has never presented its case at a better time.
In 2001 only 15 to 20% of global energy was produced by RE (Painuly, 2001). Since then the Ministry of Economic Development have proposed in their Energy Strategy to 2050 that 90% of our energy should be produced by renewables in 33 years (Ministry of Economic Development, 2007). This plan is not as simple as it sounds with both Painuly and Chwieduk identifying barriers to there implementation mainly down to cost- effectiveness. This includes inconsistent pricing, technical and market barriers, with each and more of these barriers being broken down into individual problems (Chwieduk, 2003). The highly controlled energy sectors are identified as a major problem in the Market leading to a lack of information and awareness, and therefore competition within the market is being suppressed (Painuly, 2001).
Social aspects and local communities also play a large part in New Zealand’s growth with RE. Graham, Stephenson and Smith found in their study of the publics perception of wind energy developments that local councils are much more less likely to approve proposed wind farm plans if public feedback is some what negative. Citing that opinions regarding landscape value, construction, and turbine size and shape, all play a role in the negative submissions to proposals (Graham, Stephenson, & Smith, 2009). Presenting such a proposal to the Millwater community would provide interesting insight into the dedication of a seemingly environmentally caring community.
In contrast Kelly’s research in the comparison of the UK’s, Australia and New Zealand’s RE development brings to light New Zealand’s large and dominating Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution percentage with the exportation of agriculture. Despite the significantly smaller energy use than that of the UK and Australia, New Zealand’s Agriculture export percentage is two and a half more than Australia and nearly nine times bigger than the UK’s. (Kelly, 2007) It stands to reason that although households can do their part in adopting RE it maybe the agricultural industry that needs more attention if energy is truly concerning. Is it better that the Millwater Estate exists rather than the farming land before in the eyes of energy consumption?
In an effort to address climate change effectively the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act commenced a strategy which adopted the three core policy components of energy
efficiency, energy conservation and development of renewables energy systems (EECA, 2001). But as easy as quick fixes by adding on RE technologies to existing builds may seems Ghosh and Vale found that although solar panels save and create power the position of the roof is detrimental to the effectiveness of implemented solar panel solutions (Ghosh, & Vale, 2006). Citing that by planning for possible RE solutions such as solar panels in the initial stages of planning create roofing patterns that are much more effective when it comes to saving energy. Having said this is would be interesting to interview developers, builders and planners in the Millwater area on the hundreds of residential homes still to be built.
Research Question/Design/Plan of the Study
With the main objective of the research aiming to bring an understanding and awareness to the Millwater community a case of why RE technologies should be implemented will be provided in the form a mockup proposal.
RQ: How can I encourage my local community to invest in Renewable Energies?
Understanding the Millwater community attitude to their current energy systems being used would be tackled first through personal and online interactions with multiple families throughout Millwater. After this initial connection is established I would provide families with a mock up proposal of RE being integrated into Millwater. The proposal will contain photoshopped images of Millwater Estate, with both residential and commercial buildings shown with variations of solar panels and RE alike, while Millwater’s community spaces will be photoshopped to include RE such as Wind Turbines. This proposal will then be presented to multiple families within the Millwater community both in personal interviews and with an online presentation of the proposal followed by a questionnaire. This aims to help the community to understand what it would look like if sustainable and RE technologies were adopted, while gaging their thoughts on the proposed project.
Although this research is a low-risk study the project will need to address some ethical issues even though no mental or physical harm will come to participants of the study. Ethics approval will be submitted before evaluation of findings. All participants of the study will willingly volunteer and be provided with an outline of associated risks before the study begins. The main ethical issues that will be address in the outline are of a privacy nature, therefore all participants of the study will remain anonymous unless otherwise allowed by the individuals themselves.
Resources and Budget
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will be needed to create the proposal mock ups, these programs have already been purchased so no additional cost is required. A printing service such as AUT’s PinkLime will also be needed before the research is conducted in order to print out the proposal mock ups to ensure they appear of a professional quality and standard, the cost of this should be relatively reasonable as only a couple proposals will need to be printed.
This research will take place within Millwater, Silverdale. Interviews will be held within families own homes.
Timetable for Completion
The research will be conducted over an eight week period. Each week will tackle the next phase of research:
Week 1 10.04.17 - Continue in depth literature reviews, collect relevant research and photographic material to use within proposal mockups. Prepare questions for first connection with participants.
Week 2 17.04.17 - Compile research and edit photographs and create mockups on Photoshop. Identify families to interview within Millwater and establish first connection online and in person with prepared questions.
- 24.04.17 - Away for Oceania Judo Championships -
Week 3 01.05.17 - Print proposals. Arrange times and dates to conduct interviews. Prepare online proposal and questionnaire
Week 4 08.05.17 - Conduct interviews and online questionnaire
Week 5 15.05.17 - Conduct interviews and online questionnaire
Week 6 22.05.17 - Collect interview and online questionnaire findings. Gain ethics approval. Begin evaluation of findings, begin research project report
Week 7 29.05.17 - Continue evaluation of research findings and research project report
Week 8 05.06.17 - Finalise project report and prepare for submission
Risks, Limitations and Outcomes
The main concern regarding risks and limitations relating to the research outcome surrounds the families being interviewed. In many cases Millwater has chosen to ignore past research from individuals. Gaining enough participants to successful draw findings for the project may be harder than expected. Having a personal connection to the participant involved may sway answers and research findings may become bias.
Christie, L. (2010). Understanding New Zealand Homeowners Apparent Reluctance to Adopt Housing-Sustainability Innovations. Doctor Of Philosophy In Building Science Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved from http://
Chwieduk, D. (2003). Towards sustainable-energy buildings. Applied Energy, 76(1-3), 211-217.
Ghosh, S., & Vale, R. (2006). The Potential for Solar Energy Use in a New Zealand Residential Neighbourhood: A Case Study Considering the Effect on CO2 Emissions and the Possible Benefits of Changing Roof Form. Australasian Journal Of Environmental Management, 13(4), 216-225.
Graham, J., Stephenson, J., & Smith, I. (2009). Public perceptions of wind energy developments: Case studies from New Zealand. Energy Policy, 37(9), 3348-3357. http://
Kelly, G. (2007). Renewable energy strategies in England, Australia and New Zealand. Geoforum, 38(2), 326-338.
Ministry of Economic Development,. (2007). New Zealand energy strategy to 2050 (1st ed., p. 22). Wellington [N.Z.]: Ministry of Economic Development.
New Zealand and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change | Ministry for the Environment. (2017). Retrieved from climate-change/international-forums-and-agreements/united-nations-framework- convention-climate
Painuly, J. (2001). Barriers to renewable energy penetration; a framework for analysis. Renewable Energy, 24(1), 73-89.
Reddell, G. (2009). Millwater to hold 10,000 people. Retrieved 23 March 2017, from Millwater-to-hold-10-000-people

Research Project

Awareness, understanding and encouragement of Renewable Energy implementation
This research project delves into the introduction of renewable technologies to children, using guiding questions such as ‘what is the most effective means of education’ and ‘how can we positively introduce renewable technologies to children’ to research this chose area of study.

Conversations and Interactive Toy

Although the previous research proposals guiding concept has been researched through this project, the initial plan to interview adults with renewable energy mock-ups has evolved into studying through an interactive toy designed on the physical introduction of renewables to children on awareness, understanding and encouragement of Renewable Energy implementation. This became a better approach to the project after more research found that the future of energy and learning clearly not only came from children, but began with children.

The two different stages of the research will consist of two activities therefore enabling a connection with the children on a verbal level and in a visual and kinetic manner. This ensures that regardless of a the child’s age, ability or learning style they should still be able to engage in the research activities. There will be three groups taking part. Child one, the eldest boy of the four children at 10 years old, child two an 8 year old girl, and children three and four who will work together in the activities, who are girls of 5 and 6 years old.
To begin with, a slideshow of questions and pictures is introduced to the children. This will be used as a rough guide to form the frame of a conversation. Each participant being asked seven simple questions:
1. What do you know about Renewable Energies?
Here the conversation begins and each participant should - regardless of their knowledge on the subject- start to understand what the activity will be about and how the remainder of the project would follow.
2. What does Renewable Energy look like?
This questions is mainly aimed at the younger members of the project, visualising with their imagination being another approach to engaging participants. Getting their imagination to explore would be ideal, and hopefully relax any nervous participants into the activities a bit more.
3. Do you know what this is?
A picture of a Solar Panel will be shown next in the hopes of stimulating past memories and experiences. Will they recognise the Solar Panel? And where would this lead the conversation?
4. How does a Solar Panel work? which is to be followed by a brief explanation of the  process:
     - Sunlight hits the Solar Panel
     - Light energy is converted into electricity
     - Electricity is saved into a rechargeable battery
     - When the switch is on the rechargeable battery will power connected lights and more
This explanation will play a key part in the recognition within the children on how simple and easy a complex and adult like process and a product such as renewable energies actually is.
5. Do you know what this is?
A picture depicting of a row of Wind Turbines on a row of houses again explores each child's previous connections with renewables. 
6. How does a Wind Turbine work? which is to be followed by a brief explanation of the process:
      - Wind hits the Turbine and turns the blades
     - Wind energy is converted into electricity
     - Electricity is saved into a rechargeable battery
     - When the switch is on the rechargeable battery will power connected lights and more
Explaining again in a similar manner should hopefully engrain the basics of renewable energies so they'll be able to process the information and begin learn it. Again this is an important slide to include as even though they might of recognised a solar panel and/or the wind turbine they might to know what it's job is or how it does it's job. Every part of the research being easily broken down so everyone involved is able to understand the basics before progressing to a stage of immersion, play and exploration of renewables.
7. Do you think you could put together a Solar Panel circuit?
Lastly, once they have been introduced to the basics of renewables their new found understanding will be put to the test. Each child's willingness, positivity, curiosity and alike characteristics will be taken into account in order to improve the success of creating awareness, understanding and encouraging the implementation of renewables and analyse for the future of this research area.
These questions are designed to naturally bring the conversation to the next activity. The second part of the research will be conducted using an interactive toy designed with the physical introduction of renewable technologies in mind. Each participant will be presented with the toy and asked to assemble it, no stern directions are to be given, only light guidance when asked for or when progress has come to a halt. This way the participant's are free to take the activity in any way they please. Maybe understanding on a higher level has been missed? Or a better way of creating understanding and teaching shall arise? Also hopes of new insights being created while the new perspective on the interactive toy will improve the future of the study.


Activity one: Slideshow guided interview
As expected the initial activity proved to provide varied results with each participant.
Participant one: Although excited but still unsure to begin with, this participant started activity one with an open mind. He was engaged throughout and was keen to share his own experiences and even continued to provide another avenue of education through Mindcraft towards the end.
Initially resorting to tautology participant one was unsure when presented with the first two questions. Just like the basic explanation behind the workings of a solar panel and wind turbine, he understood the basic principles. Before this research I wasn't too sure on how much each child would know about he subject of renewables. But judging from previous babysitting encounters with the family I knew that they would want to impress with what they did know and that they would also be keen to learn more.
As intended the picture of the solar panel triggered memories of seeing them in the English countryside. This being a really great positive image for the child to have moving on to the next questions as hopefully he would begin to understand - once introduced to the interactive toy house powered by one small renewable -  what the implementation of renewables on that scale means to energy usage.
It was positive to see that he had previously engaged with circuits at school. This again suggests that more research into what is being taught at school needs to be done. Without doing so I would not be able to fully take advantage of these opportunities of creating awareness and instead overlap in knowledge the child already has. In saying so repeating said information through a different avenue would not be all bad, but instead work to reinforce what they have already learnt and provide a platform for their imagination to connect the possibilities.
Once the questions had concluded the conversation had grown to a place where he began to question the reasoning behind the lack of renewable technologies implementation. This was amazing to see as comments like this are a step towards another level of understanding, where the child begin tho take ownership of their learning once they have seen and decided that the subject it worthy of interest and therefore pursuing.
Participant two: Initially confident while interrupting participant one's research time, once alone participant two was the quietist of all. Does working one on one with children produce realistic expectations of learning? This questioning the methodology of the project, should each child of been approached alone? Although she did suggest that she be a part of participant three and fours joint activities, where she would help guide them on the questions and assembly of the interactive toy. Maybe this reflected the family dynamics more than anything, participant one was only boy, possibly used to doing more things independently he seemed capable of conducting himself alone, although this may also be down to age and maturity.
Participant one was not sure of the first couple of questions but once they were rephrased in a more casual manner she began to open up and think about what she was being asked, rather than take the easier option of not knowing and having it explained straight away. By instead posing the question of 'How does a Solar Panel work?' to 'What is a Solar Panels job?' it seemed to help her understand the renewable as something familiar perhaps person she knew who had a job to do  rather than it sounding like a distant arbitrary question she had just been introduced to for the first time.
Once introduced to the Solar Panel she realised and connected the idea that both Solar Panels and Wind Turbines existed to produce the same outcomes although through different means. This was great to see as it demonstrated the new knowledge that she had just learnt already being put into practice. She also clearly recognises possible challenges involved with constructing the technology but understands the simplicity of it to therefore making it a tool she would be capable of taking part in.
Once posed with the idea of her younger sisters using the toy she became skeptical of their abilities and the level needed to complete the puzzle. This is interesting as not longer than five minutes prior she was also skeptical of her own abilities when taking on the activity. Despite this she was keen to lead the way and help her sisters understand by gently re wording the questions to keep them at ease with the activity.
Participant three: This participant took the lead between the pair, she was also the most excited as she had already learnt a lot about renewables at school. This was interesting to find out as I don't currently know the extent of what is already being taught at school. The older two children did not have as much knowledge on the subject of solar panel and wind turbines, does this mean that these kinds of technologies have only just begun to be taught in more recent years? It seems that in order to effectively create an awareness and understanding of renewables within children at primary school ages an in depth look at the current education being taught would be necessary.
Once the questions began it became clear that interacting with much younger children meant that a different approach with tailored questions to the age group should of been prepared.
Participant four: As the youngest in the research certain behaviour tendencies were expected from this participant, in particular a shy approach to taking part in the conversation. As expected she took a back seat during the conversation and let participant three do all the talking, although she was comforted by the presence of her two sisters. This helped and by the end of the activity she was keen to physically interact with the toy.
While having her sister take over may be seen as a negative learning experience this may not be the case. In this scenario the family dynamics between the children have been around for much longer than what is new to them, in this case the topic of renewables. Because of this I believe that this would be how participant would naturally learn and grow at home, so this might not of been such a bad thing, she was in a comfortable environment and surrounded by people she knew and trusts. Could it be that this is how children learn best? Or would it of been better to take part in the activities by herself? As seen she is relaxed and therefore at ease, enabling her to take her own time to process and eventually grow into the situation and begin to actively learn.

Activity two: Interactive Toy
Once each slide of dealt with the participants attention was draw to the interactive toy in the hopes of creating a physical understand and somewhat of a bond to the idea and implementation of renewables.
Participant one: This participant rushed into assembling the house without stepping back to analyse the pieces of the puzzle. This left him a little lost as it was clear that as the oldest he wanted to impress with his natural intuition, stating that he had done much harder puzzles before. This kind of attitude is not always positive but here in this situation was indeed part of what pushed the participant forward to successfully complete the activity. I believe that this was also partly down to having gone through activity one prior. Without at least some background knowledge I don't think that any of the participants would be as keen on or impressed with the interactive toy.
Participant two: Quite opposite to participant one, this participant began slower with the puzzle, she took her time and began by individually looking at each piece after the renewable electrical components had been explained. Looking back the second participant was subject to a slightly different presentation of the toy, subconsciously I adapted the the way the toy was introduced by letting her know what each piece of the components did before she had free reign of the activity. I cannot conclude 
Once the house was assembled this participant continued the activity by suggesting ways in which the toy could be improved, this was an extremely positive step as it showed her eagerness to continue with the learning process and her enjoyment of the activity. By suggesting ways in which the toy could be improved through customisation of painting and so on this participant was beginning to take owner ship of the toy and ultimately her learning. This being a critical positive set towards successfully creating awareness and understanding while trying to encourage children to help implement renewables technologies into the future of energy.
Participant three: After having confidently answered all of the questions within activity one participant three was eager to get started with the toy. Even though participant two started alongside three and four with the toy I believe this to be a good thing as it encouraged them that they were capable because their sister believed the same.
In the future having the option of another conversation with questions after the toy was built would of been able extended the possibilities and therefore enabled the children to imagine endless possibilities in regards to renewable technologies. Imagination be a massive tool to cultivate the success of the future of the way in which we produce energy.
Participant four: To begin with this participant was shy and repeatedly stated that she would not be able to successfully take part in assembling the electrical components of the puzzle. But after some gentle reassurance she grew more confident with the new situation and was able to wire at least one component with pride and a big smile. This clearly went to show that even though she was much younger and inexperienced in many more ways than her siblings, if guided in the correct manner anything becomes possible. I would disagree with schools suggesting that certain subjects should not be taught to children of certain ages because of difficulty in learning as it merely comes down to how it is taught. This became increasingly clear from start to finish of this research.

Overall conducting this research seems to have opened many more doors in relation to answering my few founding questions. This insightful project has allowed myself and the participants to engage with content that extends on my initial concepts and has provided a lot to think about moving forward. Initially unsure of what the research would find and how the children would participate, I believe this to of been a success. Merely engaging with the children and showing them how simple renewable can be was a pleasure.
Looking back I would prefer to remodel the way in which the interactive toy was introduced to the participants before future research. The way in which each child handled the toy was not as natural as I would of like and perhaps could of partly been down to the final design that was presented.
It's hard to say whether activity one or two was most effective to introducing renewables to the children, as one was an extension of the other. They worked together and flowed naturally one after the other. Without the initial base knowledge of how simple a Solar Panel and Wind Turbine works I believe that the children would not of been as curious when presented with the toy. Giving them something to go off rather than starting from nothing with the toy gave them a sense of familiarity and therefore boosted their confidence. This is such a vital part of learning, regardless of a persons age, gender or learning style. If we are lead to believe that something is within our capabilities we are much more likely to succeed in the act. 
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