Smart meters alone may not save much energy -study

Wed Sep 8, 2010 12:50am GMT

* Study shows initial energy savings decrease over time

* Behaviour, routines need to change to make meters effective

By Nina Chestney

LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters Life!) - Smart meters to boost energy efficiency in homes do not automatically achieve a significant reduction in energy demand, research showed on Wednesday.

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".   Continued...

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