The Centre for Design at RMIT is developing a new research project entitled “Carbon Neutral Communities – Making the Transition”. As part of this initiative, Maria Cugnetto, an engineering consultant, will evaluate responses to energy services and products by different users, including responses to ‘smart’ meters and ‘green’ power products. She is embarking on a three year research study looking at how consumers react to information, smart metering and technologies (AMR, AMM, AMI) introduced in Australia. The project is a partnership between RMIT University, the University of South Australia, and collaborative partners. It will specifically look at developing solutions to current institutional, planning, community, social, and economic barriers to carbon-neutrality.

The studies will include examining the impact of various social capacity building measures on behaviour responses to potentially carbonreducing measures. Demand-side reductions via energy management (including energy peak management) will be examined, in addition to supply-side reduction through fuel switching or reconfiguring energy services. Hence, metering and differential green power products will be included in the study. Anyone keen to be involved as a sponsor or partner is invited to contact Maria Cugnetto at mariacug@optusnet.com.au, tel: +61 416 026 728, or mail to PO Box 103 Moreland Victoria 3058 Australia or Ralph Horne, Director, Centre for Design, RMIT University at ralph.horne@rmit.edu.au, tel: +61 407 486688 or mail to GPO Box 2476V Melbourne Victoria 3001 Australia. The researchers would like to compare the Australian study to other international data and consumer studies performed or currently underway.