Making it Obvious: Designing Feedback into Energy Consumption

  • Sarah Darby


The process of giving feedback on consumption motivates consumers to save energy through reduced waste, yet the body of evidence testifying to this is rarely acted upon in any systematic way. The paper reviews the literature on the effectiveness of three types of feedback to domestic consumers: direct feedback in the home, indirect feedback via billing and ‘inadvertent’ feedback (a by-product of technical, household or social changes). The lessons learned on the importance of clear, immediate and user-specific information are then applied in a survey of the opportunities for better feedback to consumers in terms of technology, design and location of meters and display panels, energy billing and services such as audits and advice programmes.

The paper concludes that feedback has a significant role to play in raising energy awareness and in bringing about reduced consumption of the order of 10%; and that opportunities exist for designing it into energy-related systems which have yet to be realised.


Direct Feedback Advice Programme American Council Solar Water Heater Energy Audit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Darby
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental Change InstituteUniversity of OxfordUK

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