In this paper, a framework is presented for the evaluation of smart grid environment which is called the three-layer model. This three-layer model comprises three specific categories, or 'layers', namely, the stakeholder, market and technologies layers. Each layer is defined and explored herein, using an extensive literature study regarding their key elements, their descriptions and an overview of the findings from the literature. The assumption behind this study is that a solid understanding of each of the three layers and their interrelations will help in more effective assessment of residential smart grid pilots in order to better design products and services and deploy smart grid technologies in networks. Based on our review, we conclude that, in many studies, social factors associated with smart grid pilots, such as markets, social acceptance, and end-user and stakeholder demands, are most commonly defined as uncertainties and are therefore considered separately from the technical aspects of smart grids. As such, it is recommended that, in future assessments, the stakeholder and market layers should be combined with the technologies layer so as to enhance interaction between these three layers, and to be able to better evaluate residential smart energy systems in a multidisciplinary context.