Nataliya Mogles, University of Bath
As a result of environmental and economic concerns arising from the use of energy, energy consumption issues have received enormous attention in recent years both at international and national levels. Energy consumption behaviour is embedded in a complex socio-technical context and it is a non-trivial task to understand which factors influence this behaviour and how. It is tightly interwoven into a complex system of social norms, practices and habits, which are shaped by the existing contexts of infrastructure and materials and thus more radical and sophisticated steps at a societal and individual level are needed in order to change them.
The main focus of research on and aspirations for the reduction of domestic energy consumption lies now in inducing individual human behaviour change with the help of technological solutions: smart meters or ambient displays that are capable of providing continuous daily feedback on household energy consumption.
The research findings suggest that continuous energy feedback might be an effective driver for energy behaviour change. However, proposed current technological solutions suffer from multiple drawbacks due to their failure to incorporate results from socio-psychological research on energy consumption, which strongly advocate the need for the enhancement of in-home energy monitors to take into account multiple human factors in domestic energy consumption, such as energy literacy, social practices, personal motivations. We propose to look at energy related behaviour from a new, human factors perspective, and to consider the whole complex socio-technical system in which a human is functioning.