Convenience and energy consumption in the smart home of the future: industry visions from Australia and beyond

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Resonating with the industrial revolution of the home (Schwartz Cowan, 1989), the smart home ‘digital revolution’ reinvigorates promises for convenience. This paper analyses the industry vision for a 'simple life’, and asks what energy implications it is likely to generate. We draw on an international magazine and online media content analysis of the 21st Century smart home, alongside 10 interviews conducted with Australian smart home industry professionals. The analysis explores the contradiction between complexity and simplicity embedded in smart home industry visions, where an expanded range of devices, services and options are marketed as a way to simplify and enhance everyday practices. A promoted side-benefit is reduced and more efficient energy consumption. We unpack the expectations embodied in this current convenience narrative to show how smart home devices may transform everyday practices in ways which result in increased energy consumption and household labour. The paper concludes by calling for energy research and scholarship which seeks to disrupt the convenience and other smart home narratives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Convenience
  • Energy consumption
  • Internet of things
  • Smart home

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