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Knowledge, energy sustainability, and vulnerability in the demographics of smart home technology diffusion

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  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
  • Mari Martiskainen, University of Sussex
  • ,
  • Dylan D. Furszyfer Del Rio, University of Sussex

In this empirical study, we explore the user acceptance of smart home technologies by asking: How do people perceive their opportunities and drawbacks? What factors shape their perceptions? What implications does this have for future energy savings, sustainability, and policy? Based on a mixed methods approach involving three focus groups (N = 18) and a nationally representative survey of adults (N = 1032) in the United Kingdom, we explore the demographics, preferences, and risks of smart home technology. We do this via the lenses of knowledge and adoption; energy and climate sustainability; and vulnerability and exclusion. We explore how different classes of people—adopters versus non-adopters, high-income versus low-income, women and men, old versus young—support or oppose smart home technologies, have different degrees of knowledge and misperceptions, and reveal very different perceptions about the practices enabled by smart homes. In doing so, we show at times compelling links between smart homes and energy consumption, and possible negative impacts to poverty, inclusion, and empowerment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112196
JournalEnergy Policy
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Digital society, Energy justice, Smart home technologies, Smart homes, Sustainability transitions

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