IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Smarter than metering? Coupling smart meters and complementary currencies to reinforce the motivation of households for energy savings


  • Joachain, Hélène
  • Klopfert, Frédéric


A crucial argument in the debate around smart meter deployment in the EU is the potential for households to save energy. One strand of research in this field has investigated the effects on household energy consumption of the feed-back provided by smart meters. However, another aspect that deserves attention is the motivation for households to use the feed-back to save energy. This paper explores how the emerging trend of using complementary currencies for sustainability policies could translate into new interventions adapted to the smart meter deployment and capable of promoting more autonomous forms of motivation compared to interventions using official currencies. Three systems designs (rewarding, regulatory and hybrid) are presented and discussed within the framework of self-determination theory. Because the rewarding system S1 can contribute positively people's basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness, it could lead to more autonomous forms of motivation. The conclusions regarding the regulatory system S2 are less clear, although the hybrid variant S3 that integrates mechanisms from the rewarding system into the regulatory system could be perceived as more consonant with people's basic need for autonomy.

Suggested Citation

  • Joachain, Hélène & Klopfert, Frédéric, 2014. "Smarter than metering? Coupling smart meters and complementary currencies to reinforce the motivation of households for energy savings," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 89-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:105:y:2014:i:c:p:89-96
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2014.05.017

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hélène Joachain & Frédéric Klopfert, 2013. "Smart meters as an opportunity to motivate households for energy savings? Designing innovative policy instruments based on the coupling of smart meters and non-financial incentives," Working Papers CEB 13-008, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Seyfang, Gill & Longhurst, Noel, 2013. "Growing green money? Mapping community currencies for sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 65-77.
    3. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    4. Starkey, Richard, 2012. "Personal carbon trading: A critical survey Part 2: Efficiency and effectiveness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 19-28.
    5. Schleich, Joachim & Klobasa, Marian & Brunner, Marc & Gölz, Sebastian & Götz, Konrad, 2011. "Smart metering in Germany and Austria: Results of providing feedback information in a field trial," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S6/2011, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    6. Starkey, Richard, 2012. "Personal carbon trading: A critical survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 7-18.
    7. Hélène Joachain & Frédéric Klopfert, 2011. "Emerging trend of complementary currencies systems as policy instrument for environmental purposes: changes ahead?," Working Papers CEB 11-047, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Fawcett, Tina, 2010. "Personal carbon trading: A policy ahead of its time?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6868-6876, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Schubert, Christian, 2017. "Green nudges: Do they work? Are they ethical?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 329-342.
    2. Pon, Shirley, 2015. "Effectiveness of Real Time Information Provision with Time of Use Pricing," FCN Working Papers 8/2015, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Oct 2015.
    3. Jérôme Blanc & Marie Fare, 2016. "Turning values concrete: the role and ways of business selection in local currency schemes," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 74(3), pages 298-319, September.
    4. Francisco Javier García-Corral & Jaime de Pablo-Valenciano & Juan Milán-García & José Antonio Cordero-García, 2020. "Complementary Currencies: An Analysis of the Creation Process Based on Sustainable Local Development Principles," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(14), pages 1-22, July.
    5. Sylwia Słupik & Joanna Kos-Łabędowicz & Joanna Trzęsiok, 2021. "How to Encourage Energy Savings Behaviours? The Most Effective Incentives from the Perspective of European Consumers," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(23), pages 1-25, November.
    6. Michel, Arnaud & Hudon, Marek, 2015. "Community currencies and sustainable development: A systematic review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 160-171.
    7. Cosmi, Carmelina & Dvarionenė, Jolanta & Marques, Isabel & Di Leo, Senatro & Gecevičius, Giedrius & Gurauskienė, Inga & Mendes, Gisela & Selada, Catarina, 2015. "A holistic approach to sustainable energy development at regional level: The RENERGY self-assessment methodology," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 693-707.
    8. Camille Meyer & Marek Hudon, 2017. "Alternative organizations in finance: commoning in complementary currencies," Working Papers CEB 17-015, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    9. Shirley Pon, 2017. "The Effect of Information on TOU Electricity Use: an Irish residential study," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 6).
    10. Jacopo Gaspari & Ernesto Antonini & Lia Marchi & Vincenzo Vodola, 2021. "Energy Transition at Home: A Survey on the Data and Practices That Lead to a Change in Household Energy Behavior," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(9), pages 1-24, May.
    11. Fujimi, Toshio & Kajitani, Yoshio & Chang, Stephanie E., 2016. "Effective and persistent changes in household energy-saving behaviors: Evidence from post-tsunami Japan," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 93-106.
    12. Camille Meyer & Marek Hudon, 2019. "Money and the Commons: An Investigation of Complementary Currencies and Their Ethical Implications," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 277-292, November.
    13. Louis Larue & Camille Meyer & Marek Hudon & Joakim Sandberg, 2022. "The Ethics of Alternative Currencies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/341622, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Gordon Rausser & Wadim Strielkowski & Dalia Å treimikienÄ—, 2018. "Smart meters and household electricity consumption: A case study in Ireland," Energy & Environment, , vol. 29(1), pages 131-146, February.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Raux, Charles & Chevalier, Amandine & Bougna, Emmanuel & Hilton, Denis, 2021. "Mobility choices and climate change: Assessing the effects of social norms, emissions information and economic incentives," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    2. Daoyan Guo & Hong Chen & Ruyin Long, 2019. "What Role Should Government Play in the Personal Carbon Trading Market: Motivator or Punisher?," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 16(11), pages 1-16, May.
    3. Fan, Jin & Wang, Shanyong & Wu, Yanrui & Li, Jun & Zhao, Dingtao, 2015. "Buffer effect and price effect of a personal carbon trading scheme," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 601-610.
    4. Fabio Bothner, 2021. "Personal Carbon Trading—Lost in the Policy Primeval Soup?," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(8), pages 1-16, April.
    5. Tan, Xueping & Wang, Xinyu & Zaidi, Syed Haider Ali, 2019. "What drives public willingness to participate in the voluntary personal carbon-trading scheme? A case study of Guangzhou Pilot, China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 1-1.
    6. Li, Yao & Fan, Jin & Zhao, Dingtao & Wu, Yanrui & Li, Jun, 2016. "Tiered gasoline pricing: A personal carbon trading perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 194-201.
    7. Anna-Katharina Kothe & Alexander Kuptel & Roman Seidl, 2021. "Simulating Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) with an Agent-Based Model (ABM): Investigating Adaptive Reduction Rates and Path Dependence," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(22), pages 1-15, November.
    8. Burgess, Martin, 2016. "Personal carbon allowances: A revised model to alleviate distributional issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 316-327.
    9. Nie, Qingyun & Zhang, Lihui & Li, Songrui, 2022. "How can personal carbon trading be applied in electric vehicle subsidies? A Stackelberg game method in private vehicles," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 313(C).
    10. Wadud, Zia & Chintakayala, Phani Kumar, 2019. "Personal Carbon Trading: Trade-off and Complementarity Between In-home and Transport Related Emissions Reduction," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 397-408.
    11. von Wright, Tuuli & Kaseva, Janne & Kahiluoto, Helena, 2022. "Needs must? Fair allocation of personal carbon allowances in mobility," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    12. Dogterom, Nico & Ettema, Dick & Dijst, Martin, 2018. "Behavioural effects of a tradable driving credit scheme: Results of an online stated adaptation experiment in the Netherlands," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 52-64.
    13. Zhao, Xin-gang & Wu, Lei & Li, Ang, 2017. "Research on the efficiency of carbon trading market in China," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 1-8.
    14. Qian Wang & Qiao-Mei Liang & Bing Wang & Fang-Xun Zhong, 2016. "Impact of household expenditures on CO2 emissions in China: Income-determined or lifestyle-driven?," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 84(1), pages 353-379, November.
    15. Büchs, Milena & Schnepf, Sylke V., 2013. "Who emits most? Associations between socio-economic factors and UK households' home energy, transport, indirect and total CO2 emissions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 114-123.
    16. Anderson, Blake & M'Gonigle, Michael, 2012. "Does ecological economics have a future?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 37-48.
    17. Spash, Clive L. & Theine, Hendrik, 2016. "Voluntary Individual Carbon Trading," SRE-Discussion Papers 2016/04, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
      • Clive L. Spash & Hendrik Theine, 2016. "Voluntary Individual Carbon Trading," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2016_04, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    18. Fan, Jin & Li, Jun & Wu, Yanrui & Wang, Shanyong & Zhao, Dingtao, 2016. "The effects of allowance price on energy demand under a personal carbon trading scheme," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 242-249.
    19. Bianca Blum & Bernhard K. J. Neumärker, 2021. "Lessons from Globalization and the COVID-19 Pandemic for Economic, Environmental and Social Policy," World, MDPI, vol. 2(2), pages 1-26, June.
    20. Pitkänen, Atte & von Wright, Tuuli & Kaseva, Janne & Kahiluoto, Helena, 2022. "Distributional fairness of personal carbon trading," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 201(C).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:105:y:2014:i:c:p:89-96. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.