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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Domestic energy feedback

The starting point for this research is the question ‘What do the possibilities for energy feedback in the UK mean from the energy user’s perspective?’ Sarah Darby will be taking an interdisciplinary approach, combining qualitative research into how people use feedback (displays and informative bills, with or without ‘smart meters’) with quantification of outcomes and participation in the design and testing of feedback systems. 

Following the 2005 European Directive on end-use efficiency and energy services and the 2006 UK Energy Review, there is a policy focus on feedback as a means of cutting demand for electricity and gas. The research will analyse what is technically possible, economically feasible, effective for energy users and good for the environment, with the emphasis on householder understanding and behaviour. There are three guiding sets of ideas. First, the empirical evidence that feedback can help energy users control their consumption. Second, the educational theory showing how feedback helps people to interpret their environment, adapt to it and shape it. Third, the proposition that energy systems are ‘socio-technical’ in nature, designed by people but also affecting how they act, individually and socially.