What's energy management got to do with it? Exploring the role of energy management in the smart home adoption process

Sanguinetti, Angela and Karlin, Beth and Ford, Rebecca and Salmon, Kiernan and Dombrovski, Kelsea (2018) What's energy management got to do with it? Exploring the role of energy management in the smart home adoption process. Energy Efficiency, 11 (7). 1897–1911. ISSN 1570-6478

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    Abstract

    There are high hopes for smart home technology to deliver Home Energy Management (HEM) solutions, including through smart thermostats, plugs, lights, switches, and appliances. However, adoption of these technologies is lagging behind expectations. Moreover, it is unclear how energy management features in the smart home consumer adoption process. We know there is technical potential for the smart home to support energy management, but we know little about the degree to which energy benefits interest consumers and motivate them to adopt smart home technologies relative to non-energy benefits such as security, comfort, and convenience, which could have implications for increasing rather than decreasing energy consumption. To that point, we know little about whether and how the energy management functionalities of smart home products are actually used by adopters. The present research investigated consumers’ knowledge of, attitudes toward, and experiences with smart home technologies that have energy management functionalities (smart HEMS), in order to assess barriers to adoption and to achieving purported energy benefits. Specifically, we studied shoppers at smart home retailers to gauge their existing awareness of and attitudes toward smart HEMS, and we analyzed Amazon customer reviews of smart HEMS to better understand early adopters’ motivations and experiences. Results revealed challenges to achieving energy benefits with existing products and marketing strategies, and implications for shaping the future of these technologies to achieve energy demand reductions and load shifting capabilities at scale for the smart home and smart grid of the future.