Smart metering demand management programs: challenging the comfort and cleanliness habitus of households

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Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of habitus, field and capital, this paper outlines how smart metering demand management programs could be redesigned to bring together the competing fields of resource management and domestic life. Comfort and cleanliness expectations, which are ingrained in the habitus of householders and the field of domestic life, are often overlooked in demand management programs, which focus instead on making existing and evolving expectations more efficient. This paper draws on preliminary findings from qualitative research activities with householders who received consumption feedback through an in-home display, and/or variable price signals - both enabled by smart meters. The paper offers insights for designers of interactive demand management strategies about how to go beyond achieving efficiency benefits in the home in order to fundamentally change expectations and norms ingrained in the habitus.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Australasian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction
Subtitle of host publicationDesigning for Habitus and Habitat
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)0980306345, 9780980306347
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralian Computer Human Interaction Conference 2008 - Cairns, Australia
Duration: 8 Dec 200812 Dec 2008
Conference number: 20th (Conference Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralian Computer Human Interaction Conference 2008
Abbreviated titleOZCHI 2008
Internet address


  • Context-awareness
  • Critical peak pricing
  • Demand management
  • Energy conservation
  • Environmental behaviour change
  • Ethnography
  • Habitus
  • Households
  • In-home displays
  • Interaction design
  • Smart meters
  • Social norms
  • User studies
  • Water conservation

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