Not Just Any Old Place: How Place, People, and Technology Affect the Impact of Area Approaches to Domestic Resource Conservation

By Alice Owen.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability: Annual Review

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The rate of adoption and the impact of green technologies in the home varies considerably from location to location. The degree of change required in domestic resource use suggests that area-based approaches are needed to achieve the required level of technology and behaviour change. Using these three observations as a starting point and drawing on theory from innovation diffusion, environmental psychology and social policy, a conceptual model of technology adoption and impact has been developed. Actors in five different area-based schemes across England were interviewed, and qualitative analysis of those interviews has helped identify the factors that affect the take up, use and impact in use of a range of micro-generation, energy efficiency and water conservation measures. Perspectives of adopters, non-adopters, installers, surveyors and programme managers are compared. While results depend on the technology being deployed and its maturity, some critical success factors are identified, particularly in the competences and role of the technology surveyor and installer, and the self-perception of the user.

Keywords: Resource Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Microgeneration, Area-based Achemes, Neighbourhood Approaches, Innovation Diffusion

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability: Annual Review, Volume 9, 2013, pp.19-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.041KB).

Dr Alice Owen

PhD Researcher, School of Geography, Faculty of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK