Energy Efficiency

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 209–221 | Cite as

The role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in household energy consumption—prospects for the UK

  • Mari MartiskainenEmail author
  • Josie Coburn


Growing concerns about climate change and energy security have led to a strong focus on energy demand reduction and energy efficiency within United Kingdom (UK) energy policy. At the same time, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become pervasive in society and this has brought with it new policy options which use them as enabling technologies. One such policy option planned for implementation in the UK is the use of smart meters and real-time displays to encourage people to become more aware of their energy consumption and possibly change their energy-related behaviours. Smart meters and display units by definition link individuals, technologies and society, and their effectiveness is influenced by a range of factors. Ten semi-structured stakeholder interviews with industry, government and academia and a review of literature were conducted in order to identify which factors are most likely to contribute to the effectiveness of implementing smart meters and real-time displays in the UK. Further analysis showed a number of key themes and perspectives on behavioural change, particularly as they relate to household electricity use and the role of smart meters in the UK energy policy, including the role of ICTs in energy demand reduction more generally.


Information and communication technologies Household energy consumption Behavioural change 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Jim Watson for his valuable comments. The authors also acknowledge the funding support from EdF Energy and the Economic and Social Research Council for two research projects which were used as the basis for this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sussex Energy Group, SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research)University of SussexBrightonUK

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