Space heating in the UK is responsible for 60% of the total UK energy consumption by domestic buildings. The UK has committed to reduce heating consumption through its ‘Smarter Heating Controls Research Programme’, by educating people on how they heat their homes. UK utility companies have trialed smart home heating controls and claim that these packages, consisting of a smart thermostat, a mobile application and an online portal, can save energy. However, there is little robust evidence on people’s perceptions and reported experiences of using smart heating controls. This study aimed to understand homeowners’ perceptions and experiences in using a domestic home heating controller in order to develop recommendations for the technology and its implementation into people’s homes. Perceptions and experiences were investigated in three phases focusing on (a) the pre-use phase, which collected demographic information, awareness and expectations, (b) the in-use phase, which included habits of use, and (c) the post-use phase, which addressed satisfaction, motivation and feedback. Four online questionnaire surveys (with closed and open-ended questions) were used throughout the study, supplemented with telephone interviews in the post-use phase. Together these generated an understanding of the finer nuances of perceptions towards the smart home heating controller and underpinned recommendations for future technology development. The results showed that the smart home heating controller was perceived by 70% of participants as successfully influencing and changing their home heating behaviour. In order for smart home heating controllers to be successful, more intuitive technology with additional personalised information throughout the installation and familiarisation process may be beneficial.
Dimitrokali, E., Mackrill, J., Jennings, P., Khanna, S., Harris, V., & Cain, R. (2015). Exploring homeowners’ perception and experiences in using a domestic smart home heating controller. Indoor and Built Environment, 24(7), 1010-1032. https://doi.org/10.1177/1420326x15606186