Month: June 2011
A recent paper describes the CHARM Energy Study in which mobile technology is used to study the impact of social groupfeedback on household energy consumption. It describes the background and rationale behind the study, the technology which supports the study, and the study’s methodology. The work described builds upon similar studies by using mobile technology and on-line feedback to increase the frequency of accurate social group feedback to the participants.
It is planned that all UK homes will have Smart Meters installed by 2020, and the EU Smart Meter market has been predicted to be worth 25 Billion Dollars US in the ten years from 2010 to 2020. Although the emerging UK standard mandates that UK Smart Meters will provide bidirectional communications and support in-house displays, the authors are unaware that there is yet a standard for the type of information that will be displayed to the consumer. If the study shows a real reduction in domestic electricity use resulting from social feedback methods, they hope that they may influence the emerging Smart Meter standard to providefor this means of change.
CHARM, funded by the RCUK Digital Economy Programme, employs digital technologies as a means of providing individuals with feedback about their own and others’ sustainability behaviours. Thus, the three-year project examines the potential for telling people what other people do – the so-called ‘social norm’ approach – to change individual practices and behaviours in socially-desirable ways.
Following the CHARM approach, they are developing digital technology to facilitate the capture and web-based feedback of household energy consumption data. The study includes approximately 300 households in a UK city. Over 18 weeks, the research will compare the energy consumption of three groups of households: households that receive no feedback, households that receive feedback only about their own energy consumption, and households that receive feedback about their own energy consumption and that of the other households in the study.
Research data will include energy consumption data, base line and post intervention questionnaires, longitudinal ethnographic interviews and focus groups.
Families from Kingston in south west London are getting involved in a ground-breaking project to reduce the amount of energy they use. Around 500 households and a primary school in the north of the borough are taking part in the Smart Communities project, led by a team of researchers from Kingston University, which aims to help them reduce their energy consumption and save money by measuring their usage against that of their neighbours.
Direct link to Smart Communities Project
Pilgrim Beart, founder of Alertme gave a presentation at IET in March 2011 argued that consumers need to be in the driving seat and key for a successful transition towards reduction of carbon emissions in the home.
The presentation covers an exploration of how Smart Meter and Smart Grid roll out can help in bringing smart grid benefits into consumer’s homes and act as a catalyst for many more Smart Home services. Creating operational efficiencies for utilities will not be enough, consumers will need to experience the benefit too. Smart capabilities in the Home Area Network (HAN) will need to be built with future developments in mind. Consistent and open standards are vital for the future of the Smart Home.