“Emoticons can help you save energy”
The Smiley Face focus group shows opportunity for over £80 pear year in household savings
A new focus group of 462 homes were tested across England this month by the Sustainable Housing Association. The members of fourteen different housing associations all used smart meters, and agreed to have their homes compared (without any public feedback). These were then compared with the Sustainable Homes Group, who found that 110 homes were rated with a “very happy” face if they were a part of the 25% lowest energy users for homes of a similar size in the study.
Emoticons were the concept at the heart of this study, which saw The Sustainable Housing Association report awarding those with a “very happy face” were awarded because their performance was in the lowest 25% of energy use among similar homes.
A general “smiley face” was given if their performance was a part of the next 25% of all homes.
A “neutral face” was given to the next quarter, showing the amount that can still be done.
The results of this study suggested that an average of 8% has the potential to be saved across households on electricity and 3.6% estimated to be saved on gas with emoticon-style feedback. For each household, this rounds up to an estimate of £79 pear year, pr 16,500kWh/yr gas and 3,300 units of electricity.
The National Energy Study claim that giving people feedback on their energy has the potential to have as large an impact on cutting bills as installing loft insulation or upgrading a boiler, which reaches the equivalent of 2.7 tonnes of carbon per year in the UK. The study claimed that these methods encouraged people to change their habits and use less energy when given feedback over an extended period of time.
A former study in June of 2014 called on Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who said:
“By reducing energy use and cutting down on waste, we can reduce energy bills, make our energy system more sustainable, and drive down greenhouse as emissions.
Too often, governments have neglected the role that energy demand reduction can play in managing our energy system. Yet measures that reduce demand can contribute in a more cost- effective way to meeting our energy and climate goals than supply-side measures.”
You can read this quote, alongside a number of other findings in this press release.