What’s in it for the user? Effects and perceived user benefits of online interactive energy feedback.
Paper in proceedings, 2013
To assess the effects and benefits of computerized energy feedback, an interactive energy feedback system was implemented in 23 households and evaluated in a six-months field study. No electricity savings could be observed for the households when comparing their consumption during the test period to the consumption during the previous year. However, the use of the web portal was found to vary considerably between individual households and a correlation between use-frequency and electricity savings was observed. The five households that accessed the feedback frequently managed to reduce their electricity consumption by an average of 9% over the test period. Furthermore, many households indicated, regardlessly of their use-frequency, that they experienced positive effects of using the web portal. Some specifically expressed an increased knowledge and awareness, which to some degree empowered them to reduce their consumption and change behaviour. The findings however suggest that many aspects such as contextual factors, personal capabilities and quality of life aspects influence households’ energy consumption and that access to feedback does not per se lead to savings. However, people that utilize the feedback information and are willing and capable of changing their situation can reduce their consumption and gain additional benefits that support energy conservation.