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Results from Recent Real-Time Feedback Studies


February 23, 2012

Research Report B122

Authors:

Ben Foster, Susan Mazur-Stommen

Description:

This report summarizes the results of recent, large-scale real-time feedback pilots and experiments in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland.  It builds upon a previous meta-review by ACEEE of small residential feedback pilot studies, and was undertaken to further investigate the range of savings found in the earlier report in light of recent large-scale pilots conducted in the U.S. and Europe.  The studies reviewed here tested various combinations of interventions, but we have limited our discussion to savings from interventions providing direct, real-time feedback on residential electricity consumption and prices through in-home displays, web interfaces, and prepayment meters.   Residential electricity savings from real-time feedback in the nine pilots reviewed here ranged from 0 to 19.5%, with average savings across the pilots of 3.8%. The largest savings came from the replacement of pre-existing prepayment meters in Northern Irish homes with new prepayment meters having a real-time display.  The smallest savings were observed in two pilots, which found no aggregate effect of real-time feedback on overall electricity consumption. One of the most promising results is that a small percentage of households in several of the pilots had large savings of up to 25%.  We propose calling this group the cybernetically sensitive, because they seem to respond more readily to feedback.