Green IT Meaning in Energy Monitoring Practices: The case of Danish Households
Eco-conferences like COP26 in Glasgow (UK) in 2021 have brought the debate on energy consumption and climate change to the fore. Given that a third of the energy produced worldwide is consumed in the home, it is pertinent to investigate how households use emerging technologies that allow households to monitor their energy consumption. This paper investigates how Danish households use green IT to monitor and manage their energy use and studies the related meaning householders attach to the green IT. We present qualitative data collected through interviews with 14 households, electric car owners mostly, who have adopted an application to monitor green energy availability – and its derived consumption. The paper highlights these householders’ green energy monitoring practices with an emphasis on the meaning they make of the green IT application they used. Our study found that households can use more green energy without interacting continuously with the green IT application. This contrasts with a common assumption in the field of green IT design that consumers must continuously engage with the green IT to consume more green energy. We also posit that including householders in future green IT design is paramount for designing successful green IT applications. Finally, this paper calls for household energy consumption studies to view energy consumption as a service where specific practices are matched to energy sources – rather than viewing energy availability as a solitary incident.