Embodied competencies and smart home technology in energy use: three ways users integrate smart heating systems in everyday practices

Line Valdorff Madsen*, Anders Rhiger Hansen, Simon Peter Aslak Kondrup Larsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Smart heating systems are increasingly entering the domestic sphere. Such smart home technology (SHT) intends to provide comfort, control, and convenience in the home as well as energy efficiency and energy flexibility. However, the success of these promises depends on users’ ability to implement the SHT in everyday practices. In previous research, the importance of embodied competences acquired through previous experiences has gotten little attention. In this paper, we argue that broad scale implementation of SHT requires more knowledge on the interaction between previous experience in the formation of new competences and domestic heating practices.

In this paper, we explore how users integrate new smart technologies into their everyday heating practices in different ways by focusing on embodied competences. Based on 24 qualitative household interviews with SHT users, conducted through two Danish case studies, we identified three ways of approaching and integrating SHT in heating practices. First, the reluctant appears hesitant when adopting SHT and loses interest quickly. Second, the compliant follows orders and does what is expected by the new setup. Third, the committed encompasses a playful approach and shows strong interest in SHT design.

From this background, we find that embodied competences and previous experience are essential for how users adopt and integrate SHT in everyday life. For example, some users’ previous experience, here younger and technically interested individuals, may match well with the logics of SHT, and for some users, here older and less tech-interested individuals, previous experience may not match well with SHT.
Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalEnergy Efficiency
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Competences
  • Everyday life
  • Households
  • Practice theory
  • Residential heating
  • Smart heating
  • Smart home technology


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