Next Article in Journal
The Biogeophysical Effects of Revegetation around Mining Areas: A Case Study of Dongsheng Mining Areas in Inner Mongolia
Next Article in Special Issue
Healthcare in the Smart Home: A Study of Past, Present and Future
Previous Article in Journal
A Performance Evaluation Study of Human Resources in Low-Carbon Logistics Enterprises
Previous Article in Special Issue
The PeRvasive Environment Sensing and Sharing Solution
Article Menu
Issue 4 (April) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 622;

Adjustable Green Defaults Can Help Make Smart Homes More Sustainable

School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Department of Psychology, California State University San Marcos, San Marcos, CA 94132, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sehyun Park
Received: 1 March 2017 / Revised: 30 March 2017 / Accepted: 12 April 2017 / Published: 17 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Advent of Smart Homes)
Full-Text   |   PDF [580 KB, uploaded 17 April 2017]   |  


Smart home technologies offer exciting opportunities to promote more efficient uses of energy. For instance, programmable thermostats, centralized lighting controls, and rooftop solar panels all have potential for energy conservation and efficiency. However, these technologies alone will not guarantee energy savings. Whereas previous research on smart homes has focused on the technologies themselves, relatively little work has addressed the factors that shape the human-technology interface. In this review paper, we argue that in order to ensure any savings, smart home technologies must first be adopted by end-users, and once adopted, they must be used in ways that promote energy efficiency. We focus on three areas of behavioral research with implications for smart home technologies: (1) defaults; (2) perceived adjustability or control; and (3) trust in automation. Linking these areas, we propose a new concept for improving the efficiency gains of smart homes. First, although smart device controls can help save energy, considerably larger energy efficiency gains can be realized through smart automation. But importantly, the default settings of systems should be “green”, to maximize energy savings. Second, many people have concerns around relinquishing decision-making to technologies, which can reduce the likelihood of adoption. People want to be, or at least to feel, in control of their homes, even if they do not adjust settings post-installation. Further, consumer trust in technologies encourages adoption in the first place; trust also impacts consumer interactions with installed devices and can impact default acceptance. Combining these concepts, we recommend that smart home technologies build consumer trust and come pre-programmed with adjustable green defaults, which permit consumers to change initial green settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: technology adoption; psychology; behavioral economics; smart homes; green defaults; trust in automation technology adoption; psychology; behavioral economics; smart homes; green defaults; trust in automation

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Sintov, N.D.; Schultz, P.W. Adjustable Green Defaults Can Help Make Smart Homes More Sustainable. Sustainability 2017, 9, 622.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top