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Efficiency with People Power

The belief that all of our energy woes can be solved through technology was challenged today in a BBC Science and Environment article on the power of people. The article, written by Mark Kinver, discusses work by Oxford’s Dr. Katy Janda, who says that, while technology is an impressive tool for achieving energy efficiency goals, we “cannot forget the human side” of energy use.

In Dr. Janda’s recently published paper on people power, this senior researcher at the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) explains that people’s choices directly impact their energy use. And, the current information gap between energy producers and consumers has a significant impact on the ability of people to become more efficient in their energy use.

Within the policy and research sphere, Dr Janda said that the “information deficit model” tended to dominate the social dimensions of the energy debate. In other words, households and bill payers lacked the knowledge they needed in order to “correct” their energy-use habits.

She quoted research that compared people’s energy use with shopping in a supermarket that did not list prices on individual items. Instead, the shopper was presented with a bill for the purchases at the end of each month.

As a result, it said, households found it difficult to know how or where they could obtain details of their energy consumption. One development to bridge the “information gap” was the emergence of “feedback” devices, such as smart meters and energy monitor displays.

To see the entire BBC article, you can go to this website.


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