Feedback on Feedback
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2007 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
January 01, 2007
Do you know how much energy you consume in your home on a daily basis? Do you know what your appliances use relative to each other, so that you can choose to use the energy-hogging appliances sparingly? You might, but for most consumers, the answer to both of these questions is no. Most residents only receive feedback on their energy use in the form of a monthly bill from their utility provider, making it difficult to identify the biggest sources of energy use in their homes or to take effective action to lower future energy bills. Too Much Information Since the 1970s, many researchers from various fields have studied how feedback on energy use affects residential consumer understanding and behavior. Studies involving informative billing and periodic written feedback have realized energy savings between 10% and 20%. If residential consumers had more detailed or more frequent information about their consumption, these studies suggest they would both better understand their energy use patterns and be able to change them effectively. Taken to the extreme, this assumption predicts that the maximum amount of information, delivered continuously, will help residents to maximize their energy savings. The handful of studies ...
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