Testing smart meter displays to save energy

  • 2017

Since energy suppliers in the UK became obligated to offer free in-home displays for smart meters, alternative options (e.g. apps) have emerged. However, there has been little evidence of their effectiveness.


A number of insights could be effective in reducing household energy consumption, including:

  • Social norms and comparisons. We tend to behave the way we think most other people do and compare ourselves to others.
  • Gamification. Using elements of game design in non-game contexts can help to motivate behaviour and performance.
  • Personalisation. We are more likely to respond to information that is tailored to us.
  • Loss aversion. People tend to dislike losses more than they like gains of an equivalent amount.

We provided guidance and quality assurance on appropriate research methods to interpret suppliers’ trial results and analysis of alternative smart energy displays.

Result & Impact

The apps tested were on average likely to save slightly less energy than in-home displays.