Not on the smart home's watch...

Often it’s the auxiliary benefits of energy efficiency measures that prove the ‘tipping point’ between just thinking about getting them done and biting the bullet.

Some of our recent research has also shown that people are even prepared to pay a bit more for measures that show this sort of ‘value added’ – the added security that comes with double glazing, for example.

It turns out that smart home energy management systems may have the ultimate auxiliary benefit for the suspicious parent. Treehugger.com reported the story of and Australian dad and avid remote energy monitor inspector who managed to snoop out his kids’ house party while he was out having dinner 500 miles away.

After initial confusion at seeing a hefty energy-use spike in his absence, it was teenagers in his company completed the sell-out of his own progeny, by explaining what was really going on. After calling his daughter, she did try and slow down the energy consumption, but too little too late: busted.

There are some concerns that mass smart metering could only benefit energy companies through more accurate customer usage information – but we’re keen to ensure that armed with the correct information, this isn’t the case, and that households can really make a change towards wiser energy choices.

What’s more, this story does seem to illustrate that the micro, domestic ‘conversations’ between man and meter may be just as telling as the macro ones at corporate level.

We’ve had our blogger Steven Harris transcribing (imaginary?) discussions with his own smart home before – and it remains to be seen whether such an energy boffin will be able to resist the temptation for teen snooping opportunities as his children grow older.

All this said, it doesn’t have to mean eternal enmity between teen and machine –the less money parents spend on bills, the more they’ve got to treat their kids to that thing they’ve been on at them about for months on end (without becoming a huge victim of the rebound effect, naturally). Perhaps all that we’ll see is the secret house party having something of a low-carbon makeover…