Heather Hill

QUT Urban Informatics > Team > Heather Hill

PhD Candidate

BSc (Finance) University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA; MBA (Int’l Business) University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia; PSM Environmental Science Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

 

Heather Hill has worked in sales, finance, marketing, and management consulting for 15 years. She chose to change career paths to pursue her passion- environmental science. She commenced a Professional Science Master of Environmental Science (water resources and conflict management); where she worked on community environmental conservation projects. In her spare time Heather volunteers in her community and environmental protection organisations. She also enjoys meeting new people, meditation, ecstatic dance, nature, art, and learning and teaching healing modalities.

 

Research areas:

  • Energy conservation
  • Contemplative studies (mindfulness meditation, spiritualism)
  • Self-determination theory
  • Social work
  • Psychology
  • Mixed methods

 

PhD Research: Connecting to Self, Community, and the Environment: Energy Conservation and Wellness in
Households Living on a Low-income

 

The rising costs along with inefficient housing structure and appliances, low-income, and inadequate policies have caused tremendous hardships for people with low-income. This has caused many households to sacrifice basic needs such as food, medicine, and/or even manage energy usage in unsafe ways to avoid disconnection. As a consequence, their nutrition, performance, concentration, and confidence levels weaken and they endure social isolation, marginalisation, and relationship issues. However, few studies rarely address and integrate all of these complexities into household energy conservation programs, thus recruiting and engagement issues ensue. Therefore, a transdisciplinary, systematic approach is needed to understand and design programs that improve households with low-income internal (mental,e motional, spiritual) and external (housing, policies) environment for greater well-being and conservation. Consequently, the objectives of this thesis were met through three studies using qualitative and mixed methods research design to: gain insight into how therapeutic approaches can be applied in energy conservation programs to facilitate change and increase well-being; explore Brisbane renters with low-income non-energy related intrinsic motivations and program suggestions; and examine Brisbane renters with low-income overall needs, values, and life satisfaction. The overall findings indicate: (1) the impracticality of only focusing on reducing energy usage; (2) the necessity for bottom-up approaches that involve target in the design; (3)community connections and support are required; (4) interactive experiences are needed; and(5) communications must be framed in a way that fosters collaboration, belongingness, and well-being. Next, data from the three studies were synthesised and translated into applied solutions for therapeutic fields, NGOs and governments; and HCI and interaction design fields. Finally, a transdisciplinary, systematic conservation program was developed along with suggestions for future work.

 

Consequently, the objectives of this thesis were met through three studies using qualitative and mixed methods research design to: gain insight into how therapeutic approaches can be applied in energy conservation programs to facilitate change and increase well-being; explore Brisbane renters with low-income non-energy related intrinsic motivations and program suggestions; and examine Brisbane renters with low-income overall needs, values, and life satisfaction. The overall findings indicate: (1) the impracticality of only focusing on reducing energy usage; (2) the necessity for bottom-up approaches that involve target in the design; (3)community connections and support are required; (4) interactive experiences are needed; and(5) communications must be framed in a way that fosters collaboration, belongingness, and well-being. Next, data from the three studies were synthesised and translated into applied solutions for therapeutic fields, NGOs and governments; and HCI and interaction design fields. Finally, a transdisciplinary, systematic conservation program was developed along with suggestions for future work.