Energy and Buildings, Vol.179, 15-25, 2018
Smart homes, homes, home energy management systems and real-time feedback: Lessons for influencing household energy consumption from a Swedish field study
Home energy management systems (HEMS), providing energy feedback and smart features through in-home displays, have the potential to support more sustainable household decisions concerning energy consumption. However, recent findings from European smart metering trials have reduced the optimism, suggesting only modest savings from energy feedback. In this paper, we investigate the potential of HEMS to foster reductions in energy use, focusing on a population segment of particular relevance; high-income and highly educated households, considered as early adopters of smart grid technologies. Covering 154 households participating in a field trial in a sustainable city district in Stockholm, Sweden during one year, this study draws on the analyses of smart meter electricity and hot tap water data and in-depth interviews to provide an increased understanding of how feedback and features are perceived, used, and acted upon, and resulting effects on awareness, behavior, and consumption. Our results show that impact on energy consumption varies widely across individual households, suggesting that households respond to energy feedback highly individually. Although HEMS may lead to increased awareness of energy consumption, as well as increased home comfort, several obstacles for energy consumption behavioral change are identified. Drawing from these findings, we suggest policy implications and key issues for future research. Keywords: Residential energy consumption Home energy management system Energy consumption feedback In-home displays (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.