Some hybrid car drivers tell us that they get a real kick
out of watching the display of their current gas mileage
that comes with many of these cars, and trying to beat it by
changing their driving habits. The European Union seems to
believe that this kind of motivation may work with
homeowners, too, and has mandated that "smart meters" be
used as replacements when existing home energy meters have
served out their useful life. British blogger David Slocombe
notes that this EU mandate coincides with a new UK law
requiring all British homes to have an energy rating at the
time of their sale.
Between the two, Slocombe believes that not only individual
competitiveness, but old fashioned market forces, will
compel Brits to conserve energy at home:...these energy
usage ‘touchpoints’ could provide a few ways that home
owners or renters are ‘influenced’ to save energy, firstly
house prices will react to the energy rating If we consider
that its a buyers market then buyers will use lower energy
ratings to haggle property prices down.....
Secondly the home efficiency rating will provide a
quantifiable means for home owners to increase the market
value of a property by, for example, installing energy
efficient appliances and insulating loft cavities thus
improving their efficiency rating. A warning sign here
though is that renovation methods are likely to favour
energy saving methods that are ‘portable’ such as saving
energy through new appliances that can be taken away when
leaving a property and installed to save energy at the next.
In general this trend will lead to the market levelling off
and growing again leaving the impact of the UK energy
efficiency drive as a price ‘dip’ not a crash. Of course,
energy efficient product sales will rise and should be
supported by labelling schemes such as product energy
labelling (which is unfortunately not flawless) and the 1
David's not just theorizing here: a designer of eco-friendly
products, he's built his own smart meter (pictured above),
and reports that it has increased his awareness of the
energy consumed by common activities ("microwaving a cold
coffee uses shockingly high amount of energy but only
briefly"), and inspired him to make changes to more
efficient products around his home.
We like both of these ideas, as they directly tie monetary
value, both in terms of utility bills and home value, to the
range of activities we engage in daily that use power.
Homeowners not only gain greater control over energy use
with the knowledge they receive, but also recognize that
exercising that control impacts their wallets. For most of
us, that's all the motivation we need.
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