International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Dual Degree Master of Business Administration/Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (MBA/ESP)

Department

International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Gregory Trencher

Second Reader

Jing Zhang

Abstract

Smart metering and feedback technologies are designed to foster changes in demand side behavior. But the question, Do smart grids and smart technologies actually change behavior and promote more sustainable energy use? is yet to be answered—notably at the scale of a city. This study examines the way by which residential customers adopted and engaged with smart grid technologies, and the resulting changes in behavior from both these and pricing incentives from the utility. Data was obtained by analyzing a random sample of 240 respondents to three questionnaires (total n=1,303) implemented by a private sector consulting firm over summer in 2015 in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA where National Grid, is piloting a two-year smart grid project. Findings demonstrate that by creating a peak pricing scheme and diffusing household smart technologies, the program was able to foster an overall, modest reduction in energy consumption through energy saving behaviors.

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