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Simcock N.,Keele University | MacGregor S.,Keele University | Catney P.,Keele University | Dobson A.,Keele University | And 5 more authors.
Energy Policy | Year: 2014

Reducing household energy consumption is an essential element of the UK Government's carbon reduction strategy. Whilst increased knowledge alone will not necessarily lead to tangible actions on the part of consumers, knowledge of various kinds is, we argue, still important if domestic energy usage is to be reduced. In an attempt to 'educate' the public, governments have typically resorted to 'mass information' campaigns that have been considered largely unsuccessful. Yet understanding what alternative forms of learning could be cultivated has been limited by the dearth of research that explores whether and why people consider information about energy and energy saving to be useful. By exploring this, we can move towards an understanding of how knowledge about energy saving can be better shared and communicated, enabling more meaningful learning to take place. Drawing on in-depth qualitative data with fifty-five participants, this paper highlights a range of factors that affect perceptions of energy information. It argues that these factors are not discrete, but are interlinked. A fundamentally different model of knowledge exchange is needed for more effective learning about energy saving to occur. A number of implications for policy are proposed in our conclusions. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Guertler P.,Association for the Conservation of Energy
Energy Policy | Year: 2012

Energy efficiency and social programmes have failed to stem the dramatic increase in the number of fuel poor households in recent years. As the 2016 deadline for eradicating fuel poverty nears, energy efficiency and fuel poverty programmes are undergoing significant changes. The ambitions for Britain's Green Deal, the overhaul of supplier obligations alongside the winding down of Warm Front, and the introduction of an incentive for renewable heat combine to form a sea change in how energy efficiency and fuel poverty objectives are financed and delivered. Green Deal Finance (GDF) eliminates the up-front capital cost of energy efficiency measures to the household by linking repayments to energy savings and spreading them over many years. This paper asks whether and how GDF could be beneficial to fuel poor households. Using scenarios modelled on the English House Condition Survey, it explores the extent to which fuel poverty could be reduced, allowing for repayments incurred by GDF. It examines how much further fuel poverty could be alleviated were the capital cost subsidised or repayments supported, and concludes that a flexible design for GDF is necessary if it is to contribute to alleviating fuel poverty. © 2011. Source

Royston S.,Association for the Conservation of Energy
Energy Research and Social Science | Year: 2014

People manage heat flows in their homes through diverse skilful engagements, including interactions with a wide range of materials that help to generate heat, move it around, or prevent its movement. Using these strategies, we try to ensure that heat is where it is needed, when it is needed, and can also try to minimise its wastage (heat-out-of place and heat-out-of-time). However, the practical knowledge or know-how used in managing these thermal flows has received little attention to date, despite its relevance to topical debates on energy consumption. This paper explores how experience-based know-how is used in monitoring and managing heat flows in the home. I also consider three processes that stimulate the development of new know-how: changes in the life-course, in material arrangements, and in shared understandings. These themes are illustrated using quotes from various sources, such as web forums and advice sites. Finally, I consider how these ideas relate to wider theories of experience and know-how, and offer some reflections on what this approach might mean for research, policy and practice on sustainable energy use. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Catney P.,Keele University | MacGregor S.,Keele University | Dobson A.,Keele University | Hall S.M.,University of Manchester | And 4 more authors.
Local Environment | Year: 2014

This paper challenges "Big Society (BS) Localism", seeing it as an example of impoverished localist thinking which neglects social justice considerations. We do this through a critical examination of recent turns in the localist discourse in the UK which emphasise self-reliant communities and envisage a diminished role for the state. We establish a heuristic distinction between positive and negative approaches to localism. We argue that the Coalition Government's BS programme fits with a negative localist frame as it starts from an ideological assumption that the state acts as a barrier to community-level associational activity and that it should play a minimal role. "BS localism" (as we call it) has been influential over the making of social policy, but it also has implications for the achievement of environmental goals. We argue that this latest incarnation of localism is largely ineffective in solving problems requiring collective action because it neglects the important role that inequalities play in inhibiting the development of associational society. Drawing upon preliminary research being undertaken at the community scale, we argue that staking environmental policy success on the ability of local civil society to fill the gap left after state retrenchment runs the risk of no activity at all. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis. Source

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