17:30 - 20:00 02 October 2012
Location: UCL Energy Institute
The Energy Cultures Framework (Stephenson et al. 2010) proposed that energy behaviour could usefully be considered as the interactions between material culture, energy practices and cultural/social norms. Our research since that 2010 proposition has found the framework to be surprisingly fruitful in a variety of applications, from a basis for research design and interdisciplinary collaboration, to depicting both habitual energy behaviours and behaviour change, and further to helping reflect on the suitability of different policy and market interventions. We have also found the Energy Cutures framework to be applicable at different scales, from considering the behaviour of a single household to that of a nation, and have identified distinct clusters of ‘energy cultures’ across New Zealand households. The framework is also being applied by other Energy Cultures team members to examine the behaviour of small businesses, and is being considered for application to other behaviours. The talk will outline how we have used and developed the framework in the Energy Cultures research programme to date, and illustrate it with some key research findings.
About the speaker
Dr Janet Stephenson is a social scientist with a particular interest in societal responses to environmental challenges. She is the Director of the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago, which carries out interdisciplinary collaborative research in agriculture, food, energy and environment (www.csafe.org.nz). She is the co-leader of the 3-year Energy Cultures research programme, which is an interdisciplinary project investigating household energy behavior. She also co-leads a newly-funded 4-year research programme Energy Cultures 2 which will extend the approach into energy behaviour in businesses and transport. She is also a research team member in a newly-funded 6-year project Renewable Energy and the Smart Grid.
Janet has also carried out research on the social acceptance of renewable electricity developments in New Zealand, and has a long-running relationship with a community that is working to realize their vision of a resilient energy community http://www.blueskinpower.co.nz/. She has researched and written on people’s perceptions of landscapes, and is co-editor of two recent books “Beyond the Scene – Landscape and Identity in Aotearoa New Zealand” (2010) and “Making Our Place – exploring land use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand” (2011). Indigenous resource management is another ongoing research stream. She is a member of the Trust Board of New Zealand’s National Energy Research Institute.