Facing Digitalization at Home: Commentary on Digitalization Technologies for Energy and Aging in Place

Therese E. Peffer

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. Both papers point to equity as a major challenge in rolling out digitalization technologies in homes; further research, collaboration, training, and policy can overcome some of the barriers. A focus on the faces—the heterogenous recipients of these smart technologies—may empower the approach to digitalization technology adoption.

This paper was presented as part of “Panel 4: How Is Digitalization Transforming How Housing Is Used?” at the symposium Bringing Digitalization Home: How Can Technology Address Housing Challenges?, hosted by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies in March 2022.