Energy Consumption Monitors: Building Occupant Understanding and Behavior
Architects can help reduce CO2 emissions from buildings by helping occupants understand their energy usage, and providing motivation for behavioral changes. One of the most promising technologies being developed are energy monitors, which have shown the potential to reduce energy usage by providing building occupants the opportunity to understand and alter energy consumption. This paper analyzes existing studies of energy monitors, in particular the theories behind their design and the methods employed in testing these theories. Analysis of the studies raises some basic questions such as: what behavioral models are used in the design of the monitors, what information do these monitors provide, and do users really understand the information provided to them? Findings suggest that many aspects of energy monitor design and information communication can have an impact on energy consumption, but that this impact has limits. They also suggest that this potential is not yet fully understood, and that there are many aspects of energy consumption and behavioral motivations that could be explored in future studies.