The digitization of residential energy—aided by the digitalization of information about energy usage—has spurred a revolution in energy-efficiency investments and helped spawn the “smart home” movement. This paper covers the wide terrain of residential energy digitalization by reviewing the current state of residential energy digitalization and the diffusion of its “smart” meters, controls, and network connections and information exchanges, and their evolution within the broader policy contexts of residential energy consumption.
Digitalization promises to improve lives in homes, reducing energy consumption and costs while increasing convenience and comfort and enabling an increasingly senior population to remain in their homes and age in place. The papers by Martín, and Molinsky, Scheckler, and Hu, describe the benefits and challenges of digitalization—in home energy and aging in place respectively—in addressing pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges in the US.
As digital technology transforms housing markets, production, finance, and energy efficiency, it also has the potential to reshape the residential experience. Domestic technologies have evolved for generations, and advances in appliances, communications, entertainment, and safety systems have increased convenience, safety, and enjoyment of the home. Today’s smart home technology continues to transform how we use our homes. For the growing population of the nation’s older adults, digital technologies also have the potential to change the role that the home plays in supporting activities of daily living as well as health maintenance, management, and care, with the potential to enable older adults to remain in their own homes longer as their functional capabilities evolve. We focus in this paper on the subset of ambient assisted living technologies that monitor and provide feedback on health.