This paper studies an interdisciplinary approach for improving smart energy systems, and, in particular, building energy efficiency. Currently, energy audit is the most widely used approach to improve building energy efficiency. Energy audit increases the building energy efficiency by identifying, analyzing and implementing energy saving opportunities in existing buildings. The procedure of existing energy audit approach is relatively standardized, and energy audit professionals usually refer to Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) checklists to determine opportunities for energy savings. In this context, this paper aims to improve the general energy audit process by integrating, adapting, and extending Design Innovation (DI) techniques which help to identify more energy saving opportunities beyond the existing energy audit checklists and deliver user-centered and disruptive innovative energy-saving solutions which are missing in the traditional energy audit procedure. The motivation, advantages, and the implementation procedure of selected DI approaches are explained separately. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed mechanism, an example of developing a smart energy system for a building testbed is given.

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