+44 (0)24 7671 8970
More publications     •     Advertise with us     •     Contact us
News Article

Smart meters significantly increase household energy conservation, Oxford study finds


Smart meters can significantly increase energy conservation efforts, research from Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford reveals.

According to the study, real-time information on people’s energy usage is more effective in encouraging energy conservation than making users aware of the environmental impact of their usage.

The study, undertaken by Ximeng Fang, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Saïd Business School, alongside researchers from a number of global institutions, found that, when applied alone, smart meters – which offer users real-time data on their energy usage – were effective in encouraging households to conserve energy when showering. Information on users’ environmental impact, delivered through a shower report offered via email, meanwhile, was ineffective when used on its own.

However, the researchers found that these methods, when used together, were considerably more effective in encouraging energy conservation than when either was used in isolation.

They studied the effect of both sets of information on 351 students living in single-person dorm apartments and with a private bathroom within student dormitories in the cities of Bonn and Cologne, Germany, in the winter term 2016/17.

In sharing both sets of information, the complementary reports plugged a knowledge gap around the environmental impact of showering, and increased awareness about how much energy users were actively consuming, thereby effectively encouraging energy conservation.

Reflecting on the study, Ximeng Fang from Saïd Business School says:

People across many countries are increasingly concerned about environmental problems like climate change, and many say they are willing to act in more sustainable ways, including through behavioural changes in their personal lives. However, people’s actions are often not consistent with their stated intentions. One reason is that there are usually no direct feedback mechanisms on the environmental friendliness of our actions.

In our research, we find that individuals are significantly more likely to engage in household energy and water conservation if they are constantly reminded through smart meters that provide real-time feedback. What’s more, individuals who received information on the carbon footprint of water heating did not engage in additional conservation efforts unless they also saw real-time feedback. This suggests that abstract knowledge alone is not enough, we must also keep environmental concerns at the top of our minds when it really matters.”

The paper, Complementarities in behavioral interventions: Evidence from a field experiment on resource conservation, has been published by the Journal of Public Economics.

Smart meters significantly increase household energy conservation, Oxford study finds
Acquisition of Leading UK Renewables Developer
Nordex Group receives 98 MW order from Sweden
Sunrock expands executive board
Coversol Solar Investments secures mezzanine financing for the construction of a 29 MWp C&I solar rooftop portfolio in Italy
260MW of Solar Assets Energised in Europe
Emeren Group and Glennmont to Develop 155 MW of Battery Storage Projects in Italy
BayWa r.e. starts construction of 188 MW wind and solar flagship project, including its largest onshore wind farm in Europe
SOLEK is building its largest solar power plant Leyda. It will generate almost 200 GWh of green energy annually
Sharp Unveils 435Wp Solar Panel
bp awards Lightweight Solar Specialists Solivus with contract to supply and install PV Solar Systems
Midsummer in collaboration with one of the world's largest roofing material manufacturers
Two new high-voltage Insulation Resistance Testers from Fluke deliver accuracy and speed in solar PV applications
Sonnedix initiates operational activity in Portugal with acquisition of 49MW portfolio
BeBa Energy completes major solar array for Thanet Earth
Europe's first solar car park with carbon-friendly construction to open for public use
Solar with style: Trina Solar unveils new full black module, Vertex S+, to advance sustainable aesthetics for rooftops
REC Group launches its 5th Alpha HJT solar panel innovation in five years: REC Alpha Pure 2
Sustainability leader AIB now purchasing renewable energy from a newly constructed solar farm in Co. Wexford
Schletter Group: 48 MWp Project in Italy
ENCAVIS Acquires Two More Solar Parks In Spain and Surpasses The Planned Expansion
Maximum profitability with KACO advanced technology for complex solar roofs
Enviromena wins contract to re-power three major solar farms ahead of the summer energy peak
New Swansea University Collaboration to Support Sustainable, Locally Manufactured Solar PV
New Swansea University Collaboration to Support Sustainable, Locally Manufactured Solar PV
Next2Sun Builds World's Largest Vertical PV Plant at Frankfurt Airport
DNV Publishes Bankability Study of Solcast Satellite Irradiance Data
Steel company SSAB switches to fossil-free energy in Italy with PV solution from Solnet
janom Investments enters the Croatian solar energy industry by investing in a 30 MW power plant project
Trina Solar Vertex S+ 505W n-type dual-glass modules enter mass production
BayWa r.e. and 3E sign partnership agreement for monitoring & analytics of global PV portfolio
Accelerating Spain's Energy Transformation: LONGi to supply Naturgy with 1 million modules in new deal

Search the news archive

To close this popup you can press escape or click the close icon.
Register - Step 1

You may choose to subscribe to the Solar + Power Magazine, the Solar + Power Newsletter, or both. You may also request additional information if required, before submitting your application.

Please subscribe me to:


You chose the industry type of "Other"

Please enter the industry that you work in:
Please enter the industry that you work in: