Sunday, September 12, 2010
By NINA CHESTNEY
September 12, 2010, 10:38am
LONDON, Sept. 11 (Reuters Life!) – Smart meters to boost energy efficiency in homes do not automatically achieve a significant reduction in energy demand, research showed.
Smart meters record energy or water consumption and send the readings back to the utility for monitoring and billing.
It is hoped that consumers will save energy through increased awareness of how much they use and that estimated bills will be eliminated.
Previous studies have shown that smart meters encourage homeowners to cut their energy use by 3 to 15 percent, but researchers said consumers also need educating about energy use.
Two scientific papers published in the September issue of the publication Building Research and Information showed the technology alone is not enough to deliver significant domestic energy savings.
In her paper, Sarah Darby at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford examined how householders used feedback on their energy consumption with and without smart meters. She found that a reduction in energy demand ''did not flow naturally from improved billing information.''
''There is the potential to use (advanced metering infrastructure) for demand reduction if there is a strong strategic intention to do so, and if the social support is there,'' she said in the paper. In a separate study, academics at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands trialled domestic energy meters with 304 participants over four months.