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Expert knowledge elicitation for decision-making in home energy retrofits

Daniel Yaw Addai Duah (Construction Management Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Kevin Ford (Psychology Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)
Matt Syal (Construction Management Department, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA)

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a knowledge elicitation strategy to elicit and compile home energy retrofit knowledge that can be incorporated into the development of an intelligent decision support system to help increase the uptake of home energy retrofits. Major problems accounting for low adoption rates despite well-established benefits are: lack of information or information in unsuitable and usable format for decision making by homeowners. Despite the important role of expert knowledge in developing such systems, its elicitation has been fraught with challenges.

Design/methodology/approach

Using extensive literature review and a Delphi-dominated data collection technique, the relevant knowledge of 19 industry experts, selected based on previously developed determinants of expert knowledge and suitable for decision making was elicited and compiled. Boolean logic was used to model and represent such knowledge for use as an intelligent decision support system.

Findings

A combination of comprehensive knowledge elicitor training, Delphi technique, semi-structured interview, and job shadowing is a good elicitation strategy. It encourages experts to describe their knowledge in a natural way, relate to specific problems, and reduces bias. Relevant and consensus-based expert knowledge can be incorporated into the development of an intelligent decision support system.

Research limitations/implications

The consensus-based and relevant expert knowledge can assist homeowners with decision making and industry practitioners and academia with corroboration and enhancement of existing knowledge. The strategy contributes to solving the knowledge elicitation challenge.

Originality/value

No previous study regarding a knowledge elicitation strategy for developing an intelligent decision support system for the energy retrofit industry exists.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The funding for this research was provided by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), US Department of Energy (USDOE), as part of the Building America (BA) program through task order agreement No. KNDJ-1-40349-00. In addition, several energy auditors and trade contractors provided industry input. The authors gratefully acknowledge these contributions. The opinions and findings expressed here, however, are those of the authors alone, and are not necessarily the views or positions of the NREL, USDOE, and BA program.

Citation

Yaw Addai Duah, D., Ford, K. and Syal, M. (2014), "Expert knowledge elicitation for decision-making in home energy retrofits", Structural Survey, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 377-395. https://doi.org/10.1108/SS-01-2014-0004

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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