Monday 22 July 2013

Would you replace your fridge for £82 per year?

A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation to my research group giving an overview of my PhD research. I concluded with a slide showing some advice that could be provided to a real household from our most recent deployment. The slide showed that this household could save £82 per year by replacing their old inefficient fridge freezer with a new energy-efficient appliance. This was one of the least efficient fridge freezers we had come across, so I was pretty happy with the financial incentive for replacing it. However, the first question I received after the presentation was:

"The reward for replacing the appliance seems quite small, so how can you still motivate people to save energy? I know that wouldn't make me replace my fridge."

This really made me question the kind of feedback which disaggregation research aims to provide. My approach has always been to quantify the reward of some action, therefore empowering a household's occupants to make an informed decision, rather than making the decision for them. The reason for this being only the human can weigh up the inconvenience against the financial reward. I would guess that some people would replace their fridge given the same savings, and others would not. Personally, I'd replace my fridge for £82 per year, but would you?

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