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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/M008215/1
Title Reframing Energy Demand: Innovation for Sustainable Heat
Status Completed
Energy Categories Energy Efficiency(Residential and commercial) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Business and Management Studies) 25%;
SOCIAL SCIENCES (Politics and International Studies) 50%;
SOCIAL SCIENCES (Sociology) 25%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Environmental dimensions) 25%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Policy and regulation) 50%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Consumer attitudes and behaviour) 25%;
Principal Investigator Professor J (Janette ) Webb
No email address given
School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 31 December 2014
End Date 01 September 2018
Duration 45 months
Total Grant Value £580,962
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region Scotland
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor J (Janette ) Webb , School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh (99.997%)
  Other Investigator Professor FW Geels , Manchester Business School, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Dr M (Mark ) Winskel , Energy Systems, University of Edinburgh (0.001%)
Dr R Bolton , Science Technology & Innovation Studie, University of Edinburgh (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (0.000%)
Project Contact , The Scottish Government (0.000%)
Project Contact , Danish District Energy Partnership (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract As part of the UK's response to the threat of climate change, the UK Government has set out a radical plan to end the emission of greenhouse gases from all buildings by 2050. Achieving this will mean confronting two longstanding and deeply embedded contributors to such emissions: the poor energy efficiency standards of many UK buildings and our dependence on fossil fuels for heating.Despite the fact that almost half of the energy we use in the UK is for heating, the problems of how to make major reductions in demand, and to decarbonise supply to meet remaining needs, have received limited attention. In addition, the evidence is that more radical forms of energy efficiency and heat innovations are happening more slowly than has often been assumed. There are significant uncertainties about the best ways to increase the pace of change in relation to better insulation of buildings, energy sources, technologies and prices. There are also contentious questions about shares of costs and benefits. Our social science research will address these uncertainties and contribute new insights into innovation for energy efficient and sustainable heat in Europe.Although the UK is not alone in confronting these challenges, UK patterns of energy efficiency and heating for buildings are significantly different from many other European countries, reflecting the UK's history of cheap and plentiful natural gas resources, and the low priority given to energy efficiency and the environmental impacts of fossil fuels. Other parts of Europe have different histories, and have established policies, technologies and businesses oriented to efficiency and low carbon supplies. There are opportunities for the UK to benefit from such experience. We will compare UK, Danish and German responses to concurrent economic and environmental challenges, and the role of cities in emerging solutions in each case. We will study particular cities in England, Scotland, Germany and Denmark to identify and analyse differences in energy performance of buildings, heating systems, and energy policy and market structures. Findings will be used to provide insight into feasible and effective ways forward for UK energy efficiency and sustainable heat policy.Rather than narrow (and potentially misleading) technical and economic assessments, our research focuses on explaining the differences between societies in patterns of energy efficiency and demand for heating. We pay particular attention to urban settings, because this is where heat demand is concentrated and where many resources for innovation are located, but we also consider the interaction of city, national and European scales.Our research aims are threefold:First, to develop a new analysis of innovations in energy efficiency and sustainable heat by drawing on two related strands of social science research on innovation: social studies of the technical infrastructures and social studies of the markets which underpin energy demand and supply, and which structure the pace and shape of change.Second, to develop detailed evidence about emerging innovations for energy efficiency and sustainable heat in selected UK and European cities, and to analyse the implications of these innovations for urban energy demand to 2050.Third, to use our research to identify the potential, and means, for shared learning between European cities, in relation to energy efficiency and sustainable heat policy and practice. We will do this by working closely with UK and European policymakers, businesses and communities. The research has been designed in interaction with policy-makers, urban authorities and energy practitioners, as well as senior researchers. We will engage across European policy and research networks, and with stakeholders in each city case study. We will disseminate our research through presentations to a wide variety of UK and international audiences with interest in the future of heating systems
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 16/07/15