Research


My current research interests centre on the development of low energy housing. Buildings account for a large chunk of emissions and energy consumption, and poorly performing buildings can also be detrimental to householders' wellbeing, with risks including fuel poverty and health impacts. Housing and homes are complex socio-technical systems involving a range of technologies, actors, users, regulations, institutions and cultural connotations. I am therefore taking an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the complexities linked to transforming housing to a wholly sustainable sector. 

 

Research projects related to housing and buildings

Low Energy Housing Innovations and the role of Intermediaries (LEHII) (2015-2017)

This project is part of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand and focuses on housing sector innovation in the UK. It pays particular attention to intermediation, in other words those actors and processes that connect suppliers and end users in innovation processes. By focusing on the development of whole house retrofits and zero carbon new built houses, the research also highlights the importance of systemic innovation in the transition to sustainable buildings. 

Policy synergies and trade offs for low energy innovation (2014-2015)

This research was part of an ongoing project by the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand on analysing energy policy mixes in transitions. This part of the project focused on analysing the development of policy mixes related to building energy efficiency policies in Finland and the UK during 2000-2014. 

Energy Research Demand Project (EDRP) (2008-2010)

This research was part of the UK government's large scale trials of smart meters and in house display units. The aim of the research was to understand how consumers react to improved information about their energy consumption. The research was jointly funded by the UK Government and EdF Energy.

Affecting Consumer Behaviour on Energy Demand (2006-2007)

This research provided a review of the literature on household energy consuming behaviours and how those behaviours could best be influenced with the goal of reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The research also examined whether and how measures to encourage behavioural change can be included within future phases of the UK's energy efficiency policies. The project was funded by EdF Energy.

 

Research projects related to community energy action

The Fuel Bill Drop Shop: an investigation in community action on fuel poverty (2015-2016)

This project was conducted together with South East London Community Energy. The aim of the project was to analyse Energy Cafes, i.e. community initiatives largely based on volunteer action, which provide drop-in advice for people in relation to energy bills. Whilst Energy Cafes are mainly aimed at those vulnerable to fuel poverty and they could be well placed to work with local and health authorities to address the many issues and challenges linked to fuel poverty. See also a short video about the research on energy cafes produced by the University of Sussex. The research was funded by the Chesshire Lehmann Trust.

Community Innovation for Sustainable Energy (CISE) (2010-2013)

This project was jointly led by the Universities of Sussex and East Anglia, researching the diffusion of community-led innovative energy projects in the UK. Dr Martiskainen completed a linked PhD study as part of the project, concentrating on analysing the development of community energy projects in Finland and the UK. The project drew on the concept of grassroots innovations, i.e. civil-society led innovations that address the sustainability of socio-technical systems such as energy. Grassroots innovations such as community energy reflect on the changing role of consumers in the wider energy system, where consumers become prosumers, leading innovative projects. This project was jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the European Center Laboratories for Energy Efficiency Research (ECLEER). 

 

Research projects related to nuclear energy 

Governance of "Nuclear Revival" (2007-2009)

This project analysed the evolution of the debates, institutions and decisions concerning new nuclear power and nuclear waste management in Finland, France and the UK. As part of this project, Dr Martiskainen visited the Helsinki Institute of Science and Technology Studies (HIST), the focal point of STS studies in Finland. The project was part of the ESRC funded Sussex Energy Group.