Transitions to low energy buildings
Buildings account for approximately 40% of total energy consumption in Europe and worldwide, and emissions from both both existing and new buildings need to be addressed in order to develop a wholly sustainable building sector. Nevertheless, buildings and homes are complex socio-technical systems which involve a range of technologies, actors, regulations, institutions and cultural connotations. The following projects fit under this research theme.
- Low Energy House Innovations and the role of Intermediaries (2015-2017). This project is part of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand and focuses on building and housing sector innovation in the UK that also delivers increased energy demand reduction potential. It pays particular attention to the role of intermediation, as well as systemic innovation by focusing on whole house retrofits and zero carbon new built houses.
- Policy synergies and trade offs for low energy innovation (2014-2015). This project is part of the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand and concentrates on analysing policy mixes related to energy efficiency policies addressing buildings in Finland and the UK.
- Affecting Consumer Behaviour on Energy Demand (2006-2007). This project identified possible measures on how to influence energy behaviours in the home.
Community energy action and grassroots innovations
Grassroots and social innovations usually involve civil society actors and initiatives which address the sustainability of socio-technical systems such as energy. Actors such as voluntary community organisations can perform duties that have historically been in the hands of incumbent organisations. Concepts such as community energy reflect on the changing role of consumers and user behaviour in the wider energy system. The following projects address some of these issues in more detail:
- 'The Fuel Bill Drop Shop: an investigation in community action on fuel poverty' (2015-2016). This project is conducted together with South East London Community Energy and it focuses on analysing the effectiveness of localised community solutions to fuel poverty. The project is funded by the Chesshire Lehmann Trust. See also a short video about energy cafes.
- Community Innovation for Sustainable Energy (2010-2013). This project was jointly funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the European Center Laboratories for Energy Efficiency Research (ECLEER). The wider project researched the diffusion of community-led innovative energy projects in the UK, while Mari’s linked PhD study concentrated on analysing the development of community energy projects in Finland and the UK.
Diffusion of energy technologies
Energy policy decisions are often debated on their economic grounds, but they also have far-reaching political, environmental and social implications. The following projects fall under this theme.
- 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, Mari completed a research visit in 2009 to Helsinki Institute of Science and Technology Studies (HIST), the focal point of STS studies in Finland.
- Analysis of the different technical innovation systems for microgeneration in Germany and the UK. This work was conducted together with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in 2009-2010.