Effectiveness of in-home feedback devices in conjunction with energy use information on residential energy consumption
Residential energy consumption accounts for 22% of the total energy use in the United States. The consumer's perception of energy usage and conservation are very inaccurate which is leading to growing number of individuals who try to seek out ways to use energy more wisely. Hence behavioral change in consumers with respect to energy use, by providing energy use feedback may be important in reducing home energy consumption. Real-time energy information feedback delivered via technology along with feedback interventions has been reported to produce up to 20 percent declines in residential energy consumption through past research and pilot studies. There are, however, large differences in the estimates of the effect of these different types of feedback on energy use. As part of the Energize Phoenix Program, (a U.S. Department of Energy funded program), a Dashboard Study was conducted by the Arizona State University to estimate the impact of real-time, home-energy displays in conjunction with other feedback interventions on the residential rate of energy consumption in Phoenix, while also creating awareness and encouragement to households to reduce energy consumption. The research evaluates the effectiveness of these feedback initiatives. In the following six months of field experiment, a selected number of low-income multi-family apartments in Phoenix, were divided in three groups of feedback interventions, where one group received residential energy use related education and information, the second group received the same education as well as was equipped with the in-home feedback device and the third was given the same education, the feedback device and added budgeting information. Results of the experiment at the end of the six months did not lend a consistent support to the results from literature and past pilot studies. The data revealed a statistically insignificant reduction in energy consumption for the experiment group overall and inconsistent results for individual households when compared to a randomly selected control sample. However, as per the participant survey results, the study proved effective to foster awareness among participating residents of their own patterns of residential electricity consumption and understanding of residential energy use related savings.