Smart Homes as a Means to Sustainable Energy Consumption: A Study of Consumer Perceptions
- 3.3k Downloads
European and national policies are aimed at reducing greenhouse gases and increasing energy efficiency—also in the household sector. For this purpose, new solutions for private homes based on information and communication technologies (ICT) are being developed and tested. However, up to now, hardly anyone has seen, experienced or lived in an environment that offers the full range of ICT-based energy management solutions. In this study, consumer reactions to a fully furnished and equipped smart home are analysed using focus groups (four groups with a total of 29 participants). The analysis looks at consumer perceptions of and reactions to an energy management system which optimizes electricity consumption based on different ICT solutions. The topics that were demonstrated in practice and then discussed with the participants included variable tariffs, smart metering, smart appliances, and home automation. In general, there were positive group reactions to the smart home environment. Consumers saw many advantages for themselves; especially the chance to save money. However, giving up high levels of flexibility and adapting everyday routines to fit in with electricity tariffs were regarded as difficult. Smart appliances and smart meters were therefore considered to be necessary elements by most participants. Concerns regarding data privacy played a major role in one of the groups.
KeywordsSustainable consumption Smart home Smart energy management Consumer perception Focus groups
This research was made possible as a part of the project MeRegioMobil, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Grant 01ME09005).
- Allen, D., & Janda, K. (2006). The effect of household characteristics and energy use consciousness on the effectiveness of real-time energy use feedback: A pilot study. Proceedings of the ACEEE 2006 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, 1–12.Google Scholar
- Birzle-Harder, B.,Deffner, J., & Götz, K. (2008). Lust am Sparen oder totale Kontrolle? Akzeptanz von Stromverbrauchs-Feedback. Report. Can be ordered from URL: http://www.shop.isoe.de.
- BMWi. (2011). Eckpunkte für ein energiepolitisches Konzept. Report of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. URL: http://www.bmwi.de/BMWi/Navigation/Energie/Energiepolitik/energiekonzept,did=405004.html (06/06/2011).
- Bryman, A. (2001). Social research methods. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- IBM Global Business Services, & Zentrum für Evaluation und Methoden der Universität Bonn. (2007). Preis, Verbrauch und Umwelt versus Komfort—der mündige Energieverbraucher. Verbrauchsverhalten und neue Möglichkeiten zur Kundenbindung und Kundengewinnung für Energieversorger. Report. URL: http://www-05.ibm.com/de/pressroom/downloads/energie-studie.pdf (28/01/11).
- Energate. (2011). Daily News, Energate Messenger N 119, 22.06.2011.Google Scholar
- SF—Sustainability First and Engage Consulting Limited. (2008). International Smart Meter Trial Selected Case Studies Smart Tariffs and Customer Stimuli. Report. URL: http://www.sustainabilityfirst.org.uk/publications.htm (28/01/11).
- Fischer, C. (2007). Influencing electricity consumption via consumer feedback: a review of experience. Proceedings ECEEE 2007 Summer Study, 1873–1884.Google Scholar
- forsa. (2010). Erfolgsfaktoren von Smart Metering aus Verbrauchersicht. Report.URL: http://www.vzbv.de/mediapics/smart_metering_studie_05_2010.pdf.
- Heberlein, K., & Warriner, G. K. (1983). The influence of price and attitude on shifting residential electricity consumption from on-to off-peak periods. Journal of Economic Psychology, 4, 107–130.Google Scholar
- Kuckartz, U., Dresing, T., Rädiker, S., & Stefer, C. (2007). Qualitative evaluation. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
- Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative Content Analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1 (2).Google Scholar
- Mert, W., Watts, M., & Tritthart, W. (2009). Smart domestic appliances in sustainable energy systems—Consumer acceptance and restrictions. Proceedings of the ECEEE 2009 Summer Study, 1751–1761.Google Scholar
- Pyrko, J. (2011). Am I as smart as my smart meter is?—Swedish experience of statistics feedback to households. Proceedings of the ECEEE 2011 Summer Study, 1837–1841.Google Scholar
- Raabe, O., Lorenz, M., Pallas, F., Weis, E., & Malina, A. (2011). 14 Thesen zum Datenschutz im Smart Grid. Datenschutz und Datensicherheit, 08(2011), 519–523.Google Scholar
- Schleich, J., Klobasa, M., Goelz, S., & Götz, K. (2011).Smart metering in Germany—Results of providing feedback information in a field trial. Proceedings of the ECEEE 2011 Summer Study, 1667–1674.Google Scholar
- UBA. (2011).CO 2 -Emissionen nach Quellkategorien. Bericht des Umweltbundesamtes. Report. URL: http://www.umweltbundesamt-daten-zur-umwelt.de/umweltdaten/public/theme.do?nodeIdent=2842 (29/01/11).
- Van Westendorp, P. (1976). NSS-price sensitivity meter (PSM). A new approach to study consumer perception of price. Proceedings of the 29th ESOMAR Congress, 139–167.Google Scholar