Robotic vacuum cleaners save energy? Raising cleanliness conventions and energy demand in Australian households with smart home technologies

Nicholls, L and Strengers, Y 2019, 'Robotic vacuum cleaners save energy? Raising cleanliness conventions and energy demand in Australian households with smart home technologies', Energy Research and Social Science, vol. 50, pp. 73-81.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Robotic vacuum cleaners save energy? Raising cleanliness conventions and energy demand in Australian households with smart home technologies
Author(s) Nicholls, L
Strengers, Y
Year 2019
Journal name Energy Research and Social Science
Volume number 50
Start page 73
End page 81
Total pages 9
Publisher Elsevier
Abstract The digital revolution of household life is underway, with technologies such as robotic vacuum cleaners (robovacs) increasingly common. Various other automated appliances are emerging and being adopted in pursuit of the 'smart home. Current discourses include assumptions and explicit claims that smart homes will be energy efficient and therefore more environmentally sustainable. However, smart home technologies are also presented as affording lifestyle enhancements in the areas of comfort, cleanliness, convenience, entertainment and security. Focusing specifically on one smart device the robovac this paper aims to demonstrate how visions of cleanliness in the smart home could be counterproductive to energy reductions and household wellbeing. We draw on a content analysis of smart home marketing and articles, and conversational interviews (involving home tours) with early adopters of robovacs and smart home technologies in Australia. We find that these devices may escalate conventions of cleanliness in the home and invite supplementary energy consumption. The paper concludes by providing suggestions for how energy stakeholders can respond.
Subject Social Change
Keyword(s) Cleaning
Consumption
Digital homes
Energy efficiency
Home automation
Household practices
Smart home technologies
Smart homes
Social practices
Sustainability
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.erss.2018.11.019
Copyright notice © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN 2214-6296
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