In the current context of energy transition, practices for reducing energy consumption are encouraged by many local authority schemes, in particular for households. Homeowners are called upon to change their energy practices to save money, while ensuring better comfort in the home.
Home Energy Monitoring or Management Systems (HEMS) are tools that homeowners can use to increase their energy awareness. Municipalities hope that – by providing HEMS to homeowners - this will lead to the adoption of energy-saving measures. This study therefore aimed to explore how LAs can adopt HEMS distribution actions, and if the adoption of provided HEMS by homeowners can affect the energy use behaviour and willingness of homeowners to adopt also other low-carbon technologies.
The study used innovation adoption theory and a qualitative research method on the adoption of HEMS, supported by quantitative insights. It uses the insights from seven Local Authorities (LAs) from four countries (Belgium, France, The Netherlands, UK), who evaluated their actions to have homeowners adopt HEMS, as well as the energy behaviour in target areas using demo exemplars.
The study first categorises HEMS types based on the factors that might affect the adoption of home energy renovation measures. Second, it investigates adoption parameters according to each adoption phase for local authorities, as well as homeowners. Third, it analyses homeowners experiences through an ex ante and ex post HEMS installation survey. Finally, it assesses the recommendations suggested by participating local authorities.
The study finds that HEMS actions can be embedded in other LA actions regarding sustainability awareness raising and housing renovation. LAs particularly value that HEMS can support them with more accurate real-time energy use and comfort data. However, HEMS should be carefully selected and tested based on cost efficiency, ease of installation, compatibility with the energy management and legal system, simplicity of the feedback and supporting administration and data access arrangements.
The majority of homeowners who installed the HEMS were (highly) satisfied with the HEMS installed in their house and already convinced before the installation that the HEMS would help them to save energy. More than half of the individuals also reported energy-related behavioral change. About 30% of the individuals invested in energy-saving measures, while 70% had not adjusted anything. The adoption of HEMS can support homeowners’ behavioral change but does not necessarily lead to adoption of renovation measures by homeowners.
On the one hand, homeowners are likely to change their behaviour if they would get options beyond simple digital meters, on the other hand LAs find their role to help homeowners adopting more advanced HEMS as a complex one-off experiment. Collaboration is key for upscaling the adoption of HEMS.
|Commissioning body||Interreg 2 Seas Programme - European Fund for Regional Development|
|Number of pages||62|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
Interreg 2 Seas Programme, project funded by European Fund for Regional Development (EFRD) and Provinces of South Holland and Western Flanders
- energy monitoring
- home renovation
- local authorities
- low-carbon technologies