When Space Heating Becomes Digitalized: Investigating Competencies for Controlling Smart Home Technology in the Energy-Efficient Home

Simon Peter Aslak Kondrup Larsen, Kirsten Gram-Hanssen
2020 Sustainability  
In the near future, renewable energy sources (RES) will make up an increasing share of energy production in the district heating grid, implying that utilities must enable energy flexibility in order to compensate for the intermittent nature of RES. Current initiatives rely on smart approaches, encouraging a flexible energy demand by integrating various demand-side-management technologies. While praised for their 'smart' capabilities, smart home technologies have also been criticized for not
more » ... ticized for not meeting their potential in terms of savings and flexibility. This paper examines space-heating practices in everyday life in 16 Danish households. The study relies on qualitative in-depth interviews and 'show and tell' tours within these homes. Results show how space-heating practices are reconfigured by embodied knowledge related to respectively space-heating and use of smart technology. This implies that occupants' adaption to smart home technology is reconfigured by their previous experiences as well as the meanings they ascribed to their practices. By showing the different ways in which occupants 'get to know' smart home technology, results highlight forms of embodied knowledge which occupants habitually draw on when they heat their homes. Occupants learn and carry competences for conducting space heating throughout life, and interventions aimed at enabling a flexible energy demand need to consider this. As smart home technology is integrated in homes, interventions should consider embodied knowledge as part of occupants' competences for controlling smart home technology, as this will impact the reconfiguration of (new) space heating practices.
doi:10.3390/su12156031 fatcat:z5eovivcczg47br5ab2ask33au