Smart-A: Domestic Appliances in Sustainable Energy Systems

The project aimed to develop strategies on how intelligent household appliances can contribute to load management in future energy systems. The IFZ examined the acceptance of users for the intelligent operation of household appliances. For this purpose, a questionnaire survey, interviews and focus groups were carried out in several European countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and England).

  • European Commission, Intelligent Energy Europe
  • BMWA - Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Arbeit
  • LEV -LandesEnergieVerein Steiermark
  • NOEST - Netzwerk Ökoenergie Steiermark


  • Öko-Institut Freiburg (Project coordinator)
  • Institut für Landtechnik, Universität Bonn
  • enervision GmbH
  • Imperial College London, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • COGEN Europe
  • ENBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg
  • Miele & Cie.KG
  • University of Manchester

The project “Smart Domestic Appliances in Sustainable Energy Systems” (Smart-A) aims to develop strategies showing how smart domestic appliances can contribute to load management in future energy systems. The acceptance of consumers concerning the new options offered by smart appliances is a key success factor for the introduction of this new technology on the market. The aim of the consumer research within the Smart-A project was to reveal the extent to which consumers will agree to load-shifting, including e.g. delay the start of washing cycles or intermediate interruptions of the operation of appliances. Research questions focused on the readiness and flexibility of consumers to change their behaviour and the benefits they expect in order to accept the use of smart appliances.

Quantitative and qualitative consumer research using questionnaires and focus groups was conducted in several European countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and UK). Detailed scenarios were introduced to identify to what extent and under which conditions consumers are ready to accept smart operations of appliances. Major changes to daily routines, significant additional costs or loss of comfort will not be accepted easily. The willingness of consumers to adopt intelligent appliances depends on the perception of a mature technology and on financial gains. Ecological benefits are viewed as a positive side effect, which makes them feel good and indicates their green conscience, but for most people they are not sufficient as the sole reason to buy smart appliances. Economic advantage, higher security and good usability will be the key factors to increase user acceptance when it comes to smart operation of appliances.

More information about consumer acceptance: D 5.5 Consumer acceptance of smart appliances
More information about the project: