Identifying the opportunities for ICT based energy demand reduction in family homes

It is widely recognised that the residential sector will play an important role in achieving UK national targets for reductions in energy consumption and CO2 production. This will be achieved through efficiency gains in devices, improvements to the building fabric and systems, more effective utilisation of devices and through accepting lower levels of comfort and convenience. Home Energy Management Systems (HEMS) and other Information and Communication (ICT) based solutions are attractive because they offer help in managing device/systems and can be applied to reducing consumption while (potentially) mitigating the impact on comfort and lifestyle. This paper attempts to quantify the energy reduction potential for HEMS/ICT through a systematic treatment of monitoring data from real family homes. The analysis describes for the first time the notion of the ‘Reduction Effort Balance’ that exists between capital expenditure and acceptance of less comfort and convenience and it is demonstrated that HEMS/ICT could influence up to 50% of the possible energy demand reduction. The findings also suggest that it is highly unlikely that energy reduction targets will be met without changes to occupant lifestyle.