Assessing the environmental performance of ICT-based services: Does user behaviour make all the difference?

Reducing household energy consumption through ICT can play an important role in the transformation towards sustainable consumption patterns. Yet, the challenge in the environmental assessment of ICT applications is to also consider their use-specific environmental effects, as these can be decisive for overall results. In this article in the Journal of Sustainable Production and Consumption by Johanna Pohl, Tilman Santarius and further co-authors, we analyse the environmental performance of 375 smart home systems in Germany. Regarding the Global Warming Potential, we find that heating can have significant benefits in special cases, but does not lead to significant benefits on average. Regarding Metal Depletion Potential, we find that smart heating is always an additional burden.