Máté János Lőrincz
Narrowing the gap between smart metering and everyday life. Comfort, cleanliness and smart metering technologies in undergraduate students’ households.
Lőrincz, Máté János
Smart meters measure aggregate energy consumption for an entire building. Recent literature suggests that disaggregated information describing appliance-by-appliance electricity consumption is more effective than aggregate information (Kelly et al. 2016, Fisher 2008).
The thesis therefore investigates the potential for aggregated and disaggregated energy metering data but takes a different angle by trying to understand how newly established student households use energy in their daily lives and whether this can be changed with smart electricity display meters. The interdisciplinary methodology involved video recorded guided tours, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, photographs, video diaries and metered energy data. The data was collected in three phases. Initially, a video recorded guided tour was carried out in each student household to find out how students are sensing their environments as they move inside the house and how they are maintaining these environments through the sensory aesthetic of the home. This was followed by focus group sessions and semi-structured interviews in each household to find out how electricity was implicated in everyday practices. Next, students received three different types of smart electricity display monitors, aimed at assessing the implication of disrupting practices by real-time metering feedback.
The central finding of this work is that practices-that-consume energy cannot be reduced to attitudes or intentions. This finding is nuanced by an extended discussion on the relationship between practices and the temporal structuring of practices. The research identifies other types of feedback (such as social, material and sensory) that influence the energy use in practices or substitute practices for other non-energy using practices, suggesting that there are no simple technological or behavioural fixes. More profoundly, this thesis suggests that policy should focus on connection between practices, rather than technological performance or what consumers think about electricity display monitors.
The thesis concludes by discussing a re-framing of policy expectations; identifying the ways in which smart metering data could target domestic practices and its influencing elements potentially constrain or catalyse a transition towards a more sustainable way of living.
|Dec 1, 2017