Smart thermostats help ‘energy illiterate’ homeowners
January 31, 2012
The authors began their study with a survey of 1721 Dutch households. The startling revelation that 43% of consumers have no idea what their energy bill contains is a difficult starting point for behavior modification, says Dirk Brounen. “If they don’t know how much they’re using, it’s hard to persuade them to save,” he says. In addition 40% of homeowners surveyed had a difficult time choosing between short-term and long-term savings of energy (and therefore money): for example, to buy an inexpensive central heating system that costs much more in terms of energy use and money over time, or to invest in an expensive system that will offer energy-and-money-saving over the long run.
While the Dutch government has stimulated such energy-awareness and — saving measures as subsidies for insulation, double-glazed windows and solar panels, these initiatives rely upon ‘energy literate’ homeowners. SoBrounen says that he and the other authors have one simple recommendation: standardized ‘smart’ thermometers that adjust residential heating automatically. “People will save money and energy without even knowing it,” he says.
Appendix: Survey Questions
New research on energy literacy (blog Nils Kok)
Professor of Real Estate, Tilburg Sustainability Center
John M. Quigley †
I.Donald TernerDistinguished Professor, U.C. Berkeley
Associate Professor in Finance and Real Estate, Maastricht University