We launched
a report today ‘The Smart Way to Display’ that explores consumer preferences
for home energy display functionality.

Read
the report on our website

Read about it on BBC
online

The national
roll-out of smart meters is a great opportunity to improve consumer understanding
of energy consumption and to encourage more efficient behaviour. In-home
displays offer an important way of engaging and informing consumers about their
energy consumption. However, to be most effective such displays must present
meaningful information in an accessible and understandable form.

The research
project used a series of focus groups to evaluate different home energy display
designs. The research identifies the need for a minimum functional
specification to be introduced, to ensure that displays provide the most useful
information to consumers. The research also sets out the basis for this minimum
specification.

We held a
roundtable event on Friday 2nd October with display manufacturers, energy
companies, consumer groups, academics and others to discuss the findings.

There was
some discussion over whether smart meters were really the best way to display
information about energy use and if some people might find it easier for
example to look at the information online or on their iphone, such as my grown
up kids. While access to more detailed information from lots of different
sources is great – I don’t have an iphone and looking up my electricity usage
online won’t give me immediate feedback on how much energy my kettle uses. A
stand alone display linked to a smart meter in the home would mean instant
access to real-time feedback data that consumers need and they would be
available to everyone. Those most interested who want to learn more would also
then be able to take advantage of online services if they wished. 

We also had
two experts on smart meters from The Netherlands (Henk van Elburg from
SenterNovem and Ivo de la Rive Box from Home Automation Europe) who spoke about
what makes a good smart meter. It was very encouraging to hear that they had
come to similar conclusions and liked the minimum specification set out in the
report. It’s really important we listen to real peoples concerns in this debate
ahead of those who stand to gain!

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