Smart Lives: Our relationship with energy and technology - 21 May 2015

Reducing domestic energy use is a key goal in the struggle to reach the UK’s carbon reduction targets, create a more sustainable energy system and reduce energy costs to tackle fuel poverty. Could technology help?

Domestic energy technology is designed to provide people with a responsive energy management system while also promoting behaviour change.

It is sometimes assumed that providing technology is enough to increase engagement with energy use and change behaviours. But research consistently shows that providing feedback on personal energy use or using a social norms approach results in low rates of sustained behaviour change.

On top of this failure are the confusing mixed messages around the smart home- is technology going to augment your control or will it take control to reduce your energy bill? At the centre of these issues is a lack of understanding about how different people relate to the technology and the paradigms around the smart home.

Much of the discussion to date has focused on what the technology can do, but technology is not the limiting factor. At the heart of the debate are people and the myriad of factors which contribute to their decisions. In collaboration with the Energy Saving Trust Foundation this Hot Topics event explored the different technological systems designed to reduce energy use, attempts to change behaviours and why a solely technology focused approach does not work.


Sara Bell

CEO and Founder of Tempus Energy

Chris Brauer

Director of Innovation and senior Lecturer, Institute of Management Studies, Goldsmiths

Ian Rose

Passiv Systems