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The question of energy reduction: The problem(s) with feedback

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  • Buchanan, Kathryn
  • Russo, Riccardo
  • Anderson, Ben

Abstract

With smart metering initiatives gaining increasing global popularity, the present paper seeks to challenge the increasingly entrenched view that providing householders with feedback about their energy usage, via an in-home-display, will lead them to substantially reduce their energy consumption. Specifically, we draw on existing quantitative and qualitative evidence to outline three key problems with feedback, namely: (a) the limited evidence of efficacy, (b) the need for user engagement, and (c) the potential for unintended consequences. We conclude by noting that, in their current form, existing in-home-displays may not induce the desired energy-reduction response anticipated by smart metering initiatives. Instead, if smart metering is to effectively reduce energy consumption there is a clear need to develop and test innovative new feedback devices that have been designed with user engagement in mind.

Suggested Citation

  • Buchanan, Kathryn & Russo, Riccardo & Anderson, Ben, 2015. "The question of energy reduction: The problem(s) with feedback," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 89-96.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:77:y:2015:i:c:p:89-96
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2014.12.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Degen, Kathrin & Fleisch, Elgar & Götte, Lorenz & Lalive, Rafael & Staake, Thorsten & Tasic, Vojkan & Tiefenbeck, Verena, 2016. "Overcoming Salience Bias: How Real-Time Feedback Fosters Resource Conservation," CEPR Discussion Papers 11480, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    4. O'Sullivan, Kimberley C. & Stanley, James & Fougere, Geoffrey & Howden-Chapman, Philippa, 2016. "Heating practices and self-disconnection among electricity prepayment meter consumers in New Zealand: A follow-up survey," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 139-147.
    5. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:c:p:255-270 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:225-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Buchanan, Kathryn & Banks, Nick & Preston, Ian & Russo, Riccardo, 2016. "The British public’s perception of the UK smart metering initiative: Threats and opportunities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 87-97.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:10:p:3553-:d:173646 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:528-:d:94481 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Louis-Gaëtan Giraudet, 2018. "Energy efficiency as a credence good: A review of informational barriers to building energy savings," Working Papers 2018.07, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    11. repec:eee:appene:v:221:y:2018:i:c:p:220-228 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Kendel, Adnane & Lazaric, Nathalie & Maréchal, Kevin, 2017. "What do people ‘learn by looking’ at direct feedback on their energy consumption? Results of a field study in Southern France," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 593-605.
    13. Alberts, Genevieve & Gurguc, Zeynep & Koutroumpis, Pantelis & Martin, Ralf & Muûls, Mirabelle & Napp, Tamaryn, 2016. "Competition and norms: A self-defeating combination?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 504-523.
    14. repec:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:4:p:953-:d:141453 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Shen, Meng & Young, Robert & Cui, Qingbin, 2016. "The normative feedback approach for energy conservation behavior in the military community," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 19-32.
    16. repec:eee:rensus:v:103:y:2019:i:c:p:455-462 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:eee:enepol:v:122:y:2018:i:c:p:1-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Foulds, Chris & Robison, Rosalyn A.V. & Macrorie, Rachel, 2017. "Energy monitoring as a practice: Investigating use of the iMeasure online energy feedback tool," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 194-202.
    19. repec:eee:rensus:v:94:y:2018:i:c:p:234-250 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Weber, Sylvain & Puddu, Stefano & Pacheco, Diana, 2017. "Move it! How an electric contest motivates households to shift their load profile," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 255-270.
    21. Hege Westskog & Tanja Winther & Hanne Sæle, 2015. "The Effects of In-Home Displays—Revisiting the Context," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(5), pages 1-21, May.
    22. Matthew E. Oliver & Juan Moreno-Cruz & Ross C. Beppler, 2019. "Microeconomics of the rebound effect for residential solar photovoltaic systems," CESifo Working Paper Series 7635, CESifo Group Munich.
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