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Making energy visible: A qualitative field study of how householders interact with feedback from smart energy monitors

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Energy Policy, Volume 38, Number 10, p.6111-6119 (2010)



This paper explores how UK householders interacted with feedback on their domestic energy consumption in a field trial of real-time displays or smart energy monitors. After examining relevant bodies of literature on the effects of energy feedback on consumption behaviour, and on the complex role of energy and appliances within household moral economies, the paper draws on qualitative evidence from interviews with 15 UK householders trialling smart energy monitors of differing levels of sophistication. It focuses specifically on householder motivations for acquiring the monitors, how the monitors have been used, how feedback has changed consumption behaviour, and the limitations to further behavioural change the householders experienced. The paper concludes by identifying significant implications for future research and policy in this area.