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Energy consumption feedback in perspective: integrating Australian data to meta-analyses on in-home displays


Providing homeowners with real-time feedback on their electricity consumption through a dedicated display device has been shown to reduce consumption by approximately 6–10 %. However, recent advances in smart grid technology have enabled larger sample sizes and more representative sample selection and recruitment methods for display trials. By analyzing these factors using data from current studies, this paper argues that a realistic, large-scale conservation effect from feedback is in the range of 3–5 %. Subsequent analysis shows that providing real-time feedback may not be a cost effective strategy for reducing carbon emissions in Australia, but that it may enable additional benefits such as customer retention and peak-load shift.

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  1. 1.

    Project life and cost estimates include hardware and program administration costs for a large-scale roll-out (10,000+ units). Prices in Australian dollars.

  2. 2.

    From highest to lowest: UK, China, US, Japan, Australia, South Korea.

  3. 3.

    The appropriate personal discount rate for energy consuming appliances is beyond the scope of this paper and the figure of 10 % is used for illustrative purposes only. There is evidence that consumers may apply very high discount rates in this context. One study found an implicit discount rate of 25 % for the purchase of air conditioners (Hausman 1979).


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Correspondence to Colin McKerracher.

Appendix A

Appendix A

Table 5 Summary Data for Trials Analyzed

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McKerracher, C., Torriti, J. Energy consumption feedback in perspective: integrating Australian data to meta-analyses on in-home displays. Energy Efficiency 6, 387–405 (2013).

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  • Electricity consumption
  • In-home displays
  • Real-time feedback
  • Smart meters